One of the most common weapons in today’s warfare are hand grenades. The level of destruction is high and they are easy to maneuver. What if they were older than you think? The hand grenades of the Crusades would prove just that.
A new analysis of residues from the interior of ancient pottery vessels of the 11th and 12th century confirms this. The finding happened in Jerusalem. And it revealed that they could have been used as hand grenades.
The research is led by Griffith University associate professor Carney Matheson. What did he confirm? That some containers contained oils and medicines, and that others contained scented oils. This is consistent with previous research on the use of the containers.
However, their findings also revealed more than that. Some of the vessels contained a flammable and probably explosive material. What does it mean? That they could have been used as ancient hand grenades, no less. This material analyzed inside the pots could have been a locally developed ancient explosive, according to Matheson.
“This research proves the hypothesis. There was diverse use of these unique ceramic pots that included ancient explosive artifacts,” he said.
No black powder
Crusader hand grenades must have been a fearsome weapon. Those pots were hurled against Crusader fortresses, producing loud noises and bright flashes of light. It is believed that some of these pots had been sealed with resin.
The scientist emphasized that a locally invented explosive material was used and not black powder. The latter was invented in China and was brought to the Middle East and Europe in the 13th century.
“Further research is needed on these pots and their explosive contents. It will enable us to understand the ancient explosive technology of the medieval period. Also, the history of explosive weapons in the eastern Mediterranean”, he concluded.