1,000-Year-Old ‘Jar’ Discovered in Jerusalem Might Actually Be a Powerful Ancient Weapon

A new study suggests that Crusades-era clay vessels unearthed in Jerusalem might actually be a very, very early version of hand grenades, a conclusion which I’m sure anyone out there who is as nerdy as I am will be delighted to hear.

The sphero-conical ceramic vessel might just look like your run-of-the-mill clay pot to the untrained eye but, although it was previously thought the jars were indeed regular, everyday drinking or storage vessels, researchers have discovered remains of explosive materials, indicating they might have been something much, much cooler. Neato.

Remains of the pots found at a site in the Armenian Gardens in Jerusalem date between the 11th and 12th centuries, around the time that eastern and western forces were battling over control of the Holy Land in the Crusades.

Live Science recently reported on the updated theory about the use of the vessels, also noting that firsthand accounts from Crusader knights as well as Arab texts mention handheld explosive devices which detonated loudly and brightly upon impact.

However, in the 1980s, it was theorized that the fragmented remains were possibly used for far more boring things, like storing oil or beer (not that oil and beer aren’t cool; they’re just not medieval-Holy-War-hand-grenade cool).

Carney Matheson, who led the study, told Live Science that such explosives would require three components; fuel, an oxidizer to ignite the fuel and a vessel to apply the pressure needed to cause the kind of explosion that would send your enemies fleeing.

“The grenade-like vessel that the researchers analyzed had much thicker walls than the other ceramics they studied and showed signs of being sealed with resin, which points to it being well-suited to maintaining the pressure needed for an explosion to occur,” Live Science noted. “However, to confirm that the jar was used as a grenade, the team also had to provide evidence of explosive materials inside.”

Read More

Please enable JavaScript to view comments powered by Disqus.
%%footer%%