Scientists have found ancient vases in Jerusalem, Israel. Initially, experts said that these 900-year-old ancient vases were used for many purposes such as storing oil, beer, wine, medicine…
However, in a new study, experts have found that a few vases are likely medieval “hand grenades” when they contain flammable and explosive materials.
Specifically, scientists found fragments of a pottery. This may have been an early version of the hand-held ammunition and was used by warriors during the Crusades some 900 years ago.
According to Carney Matheson, an archaeologist at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia, hand explosives require three essential ingredients. The first is the fuel to burn. The second is the oxidant used to ignite the fuel. The third is a pressurized sealed vessel, intended to facilitate the reaction between the fuel and the oxidant, until it causes an explosion.
Previously, a 700-year-old ceramic grenade was found off the northern coast of Israel. Photo: Amir Gorzalczany
The grenade-like pot that the researchers analyzed had much thicker walls than other ceramics they studied, and showed signs of being sealed with turpentine. This suggests that this could be a way to maintain the pressure needed for an explosion to occur. But to confirm this ancient ceramic vase was used as a grenade, the research team must also provide evidence of explosive materials inside.
According to the researchers, inside the ancient conical ceramic vase there are traces of explosive materials such as a mixture of vegetable oils and animal fats, along with oxidizing agents such as sodium nitrate, calcium nitrate, and potassium. nitrate and magnesium nitrate.
The remains of a ceramic vase found in Jerusalem that scientists suspect were used as grenades. Photo: Robert Mason
The team also found traces of sulfur. This added substance is likely to reduce the temperature required for an explosive reaction to occur.
In addition, the researchers suspect that similar grenades have added ingredients that can alter their explosive properties, such as magnesium, which can produce bright flashes of light.
According to Carney Matheson, the researchers suspect that similar grenades are even added with ingredients that can alter their explosive properties, such as magnesium, to produce a bright flash.
However, it is not clear exactly how the explosives will be ignited, the researchers say.
Archaeologist Carney Matheson said: “The components could explode on impact, but we’re not sure about that.”
In addition, the team suspects that medieval warriors inserted a detonator into the jar through a small crack and then held it in place with turpentine.
Previously, researchers assumed that any hand-held explosive device could potentially contain gunpowder, using charcoal as fuel and potassium nitrate as an oxidizer. Gunpowder was invented in ancient China. But gunpowder was not introduced to the Middle East until the 13th century.
Meanwhile, the above ceramic vases date from the 11th – 12th centuries. This may also change the views of researchers about this weapon.
This new study was published in the journal PLOS One.
Article referenced source: Livescience, Ancientorigins
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