Flammable Residues Detected in Medieval Vessels from Jerusalem

Jerusalem Explosive WeaponQUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA—According to a Cosmos Magazine report, some of the eleventh- and twelfth-century vessels unearthed in Jerusalem’s Armenian Garden in the 1960s may have been used as a sort of hand grenade. Carney Matheson of Griffith University analyzed residues from the vessels and found that some had held mercury, oil, and medicines, and some had been used for drinking beer. But traces of a flammable and possibly explosive material was found in some of the containers, which are spherical in shape and have conical bases. The researchers also noted that some of these vessels had been sealed with resin. “These vessels have been reported during the time of the Crusades as grenades thrown against Crusader strongholds, producing loud noises and bright flashes of light,” Matheson said. Similar vessels, dated from the ninth through the fifteenth centuries, have been found throughout the Middle East, and the explosive material, Matheson added, is thought to have been invented locally. To read more about archaeological finds from the Crusades in Israel, go to “An Unexpected Cemetery.”

Source: archaeology.org

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