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General >> Project Goliath - The History of The Sling >> Medieval Finnish Slings
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Message started by Mangrove on Jun 29th, 2009 at 8:15am

Title: Medieval Finnish Slings
Post by Mangrove on Jun 29th, 2009 at 8:15am
Harjula, J. & Jokela, S. 2003. Slings and Shoes: Leather Finds from Two Excavations. Kaupunkia pintaa syvemmältä. Arkeologisia näkökulmia Turun historiaan. Archaeologia Medii Aevi Finlandiae IX. Turku. Pg. 264.

"Some of the leather finds turned out to be slings, which could have been used both as toys and as weapons. The slings from the Åbo Akademi site could perhaps be considered to be some kind of temporary or peasant weapons, with actual war weapons functioning as their models. Also the excavations at Turku Castle have produced one sling (Figure 3)."

Most of them are made out of used (shoe?) leather but the two dark ones are cut from fresh hide.

Figure 3. Six slings from Åbo Akademi site and one from bailey of Turku Castle. Åbo Akademi's slings at top row from left to right  TMM 21816:NE10421, NE50095, NE13230 and bottom row NE134100, NE5005, NE20053. The most bottom one is the sling from Turku Castle, KM 96001:4417. Photograph by TMM / Janne Harjula.


Title: Re: Medieval Finnish Slings
Post by David Morningstar on Jun 29th, 2009 at 9:24am
Interesting stuff.

Title: Re: Medieval Finnish Slings
Post by Fundibularius on Jun 29th, 2009 at 9:28am
Great find. Thanks!

At first look, I thought the one in the middle was some kind of Aussie pouch, but of course it's not. ;)

Title: Re: Medieval Finnish Slings
Post by winkleried on Jun 29th, 2009 at 7:16pm
I don't suppose ya happen to have a PDF of this article????
Also what is the timeline of these slings????
Marc Adkins


Mangrove wrote on Jun 29th, 2009 at 8:15am:
Harjula, J. & Jokela, S. 2003. Slings and Shoes: Leather Finds from Two Excavations. Kaupunkia pintaa syvemmältä. Arkeologisia näkökulmia Turun historiaan. Archaeologia Medii Aevi Finlandiae IX. Turku. Pg. 264.

"Some of the leather finds turned out to be slings, which could have been used both as toys and as weapons. The slings from the Åbo Akademi site could perhaps be considered to be some kind of temporary or peasant weapons, with actual war weapons functioning as their models. Also the excavations at Turku Castle have produced one sling (Figure 3)."

Most of them are made out of used (shoe?) leather but the two dark ones are cut from fresh hide.

Figure 3. Six slings from Åbo Akademi site and one from bailey of Turku Castle. Åbo Akademi's slings at top row from left to right  TMM 21816:NE10421, NE50095, NE13230 and bottom row NE134100, NE5005, NE20053. The most bottom one is the sling from Turku Castle, KM 96001:4417. Photograph by TMM / Janne Harjula.



Title: Re: Medieval Finnish Slings
Post by Mangrove on Jun 30th, 2009 at 8:51am

winkleried wrote on Jun 29th, 2009 at 7:16pm:
Also what is the timeline of these slings????


Harjula, J. 2003. Leluja vai aseita? Printed on ABOA. Turun Maakuntamuseon vuosikirja 66-67/2002-2003. Turku. Pg. 101-110.


Photo by TMM / Mikko Kyynäräinen.

TMM21816:NE13230 = late 14th to early 15th century
TMM21816:NE134100 = late 14th to early 15th
TMM21816:NE10421 = late medieval

TMM21816:NE5005 = late 14th to early 16th
TMM21816:NE50095 = late 14th to early 16th
TMM21816:NE20053 = Unknown, probably medieval

KM 96001:4417 = 167 x 100 mm.

Title: Re: Medieval Finnish Slings
Post by slingbadger on Jun 30th, 2009 at 11:43am
You realize of course, you've created new obsessions for us, researchwise. Darn you.

 And there it is again.   Sling =toy. Someone needs to go over there and show the academics what a sling can do.
  Or just slap them silly. Whatever is easiest.

Title: Re: Medieval Finnish Slings
Post by Mangrove on Jun 30th, 2009 at 5:49pm

slingbadger wrote on Jun 30th, 2009 at 11:43am:
And there it is again.   Sling =toy. Someone needs to go over there and show the academics what a sling can do.


[2nd article is named "Toys or weapons?"] These two articles from the same author are the first of their kind in Finland and he really does not know are these toys, weapons for peasants or "real weapons" just from the findings. So the main point of these articles are the two photos from the same findings.

Title: Re: Medieval Finnish Slings
Post by Thearos on Jun 30th, 2009 at 7:01pm
Why are the holes in the pouch so big ? Wear ? Rot ? Or design ?

Title: Re: Medieval Finnish Slings
Post by David Morningstar on Jul 1st, 2009 at 4:11am
I would guess stretching. Leather can stretch a long way without tearing before it stops and holds. It doesnt spring back. As long as you start with plenty of material around it, its not a problem but can look a bit alarming.

Title: Re: Medieval Finnish Slings
Post by Fundibularius on Jul 1st, 2009 at 2:13pm
To me, they seem to have been cut out that big intentionally. I don't think it affected the functionality of the slings.

The holes could also have been part of the original shoe design.

Title: Re: Medieval Finnish Slings
Post by Mangrove on Jul 1st, 2009 at 2:48pm

Fundibularius wrote on Jul 1st, 2009 at 2:13pm:
The holes could also have been part of the original shoe design.


"[...] one of these (NE5005) is cut from a shoe - the sling contains two holes for strings and reinforcement on the other side."

Title: Re: Medieval Finnish Slings
Post by funda_iucunda on Jul 1st, 2009 at 4:09pm
These slings remember me to some findings from medieval Schlweswig and Haithabu (Northern Germany not far from the Danish border) which had been defined as sling pouiches. They are dated from 10. to 12. or 13. century. I' ll try to send pictures of them.

funda iucunda

Title: Re: Medieval Finnish Slings
Post by slingbadger on Jul 2nd, 2009 at 6:28am
I'm thinking the one on the bottom, and the first one, with the open slit, may have been used as pouches for sling staffs. Olaus Magnus mentioned the Finns using chunks of red hot metal in battle, slingstaffs would be preferable  for that. He also mentions them directly in a war with the Muscovites.  

Title: Re: Medieval Finnish Slings
Post by Fundibularius on Jul 2nd, 2009 at 9:32am
If so, wouldn't the two pouches cut from fresh hide be the option for hot missiles? They still contained body moisture and may not have suffered damage from heat so easily.

Title: Re: Medieval Finnish Slings
Post by the_warrior_yeti on Jul 2nd, 2009 at 4:01pm
I think by fresh hide they're probably meaning raw hide, which will dry out and become very hard or stiff. It would be preferable in my opinion to use tanned hide and soak it in water before firing hot missiles. Rawhide also seems to tear very easily. I agree with Fundibularius, that the holes look to be cut intentionally.

Title: Re: Medieval Finnish Slings
Post by curious_aardvark on Jul 4th, 2009 at 5:10am
by fresh hide, logically, they just mean leather that wasn't first made into shoes.

good variety of designs, and yeah that central one in the first pic does look like an aussie :-)

Title: Re: Medieval Finnish Slings
Post by Et Cetera on Jul 4th, 2009 at 12:47pm
Where were these slings from? Some castle?

Title: Re: Medieval Finnish Slings
Post by Mangrove on Jul 4th, 2009 at 2:13pm

Et Cetera wrote on Jul 4th, 2009 at 12:47pm:
Where were these slings from? Some castle?


As I said in my initial message six slings were from Åbo Akademi site and one from bailey of Turku Castle.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%85bo_Akademi_University
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turku_Castle

Title: Re: Medieval Finnish Slings
Post by Fundibularius on Jul 5th, 2009 at 5:15pm

the_warrior_yeti wrote on Jul 2nd, 2009 at 4:01pm:
I think by fresh hide they're probably meaning raw hide, which will dry out and become very hard or stiff.


Ok, thanks, I was on the wrong track then with the blood-wet cowhide   :).

Btw, one of my favourite slings at the moment has a pouch made out of two leather straps from an old sandal. If I got into a close-quarter fight with it, I could still use it as a biochemical weapon.

Title: Re: Medieval Finnish Slings
Post by the_warrior_yeti on Jul 7th, 2009 at 4:17pm

Curious Aardvark wrote on Jul 4th, 2009 at 5:10am:
by fresh hide, logically, they just mean leather that wasn't first made into shoes.


You're probably right aardvark. That would be the more logical explanation. Rawhide dries hard as a rock so the pouch would have not flex to it at all, unless you really worked it to get it that way, but in that time, in my experience, the cord would probably tear those holes right out. It would be much more sensible and make a longer lasting pouch to just use leather scraps from making shoes or clothing, which if you've ever worked with leather on a large scale, you know you will have plenty of scrapes.

Title: Re: Medieval Finnish Slings
Post by funda_iucunda on Jul 15th, 2009 at 7:07am
Here comes a picture of medieval slings from Schleswig. Schleswig is a town in the north of Germany and somehow the successor of the viking town Haithabu which is located two or three kilometeras south of Schleswig. Both are located at the fjord "Schlei" which had been a often frequented shipping way in former times. The sling had been found in the ground of the medieval harbour place and they are dated from 11 to 12th century.

funda iucunda
Schleudertaschen-Schleswig-11-12-Jhrd.bmp (819 KB | )

Title: Re: Medieval Finnish Slings
Post by David Morningstar on Jul 15th, 2009 at 9:02am
Lots of longitudinal cuts. I can see that working well....

Title: Re: Medieval Finnish Slings
Post by Fundibularius on Jul 15th, 2009 at 9:27am
Good find!

The one in the upper right corner looks almost like a Capt. Paul to me. Or like the Aitsikko Comanche stonethrower OldXplorer uses in  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xaIT9HcnVqg

Title: Re: Medieval Finnish Slings
Post by winkleried on Jul 15th, 2009 at 10:17am
Sweet I've been looking for a picture of the Hedeby find. All I have found so far has been replicas.

Marc Adkins

Title: Re: Medieval Finnish Slings
Post by winkleried on Jul 15th, 2009 at 10:18am
Based on the replica that I built several months ago it works really well. I used a sketch of the artifact.

Marc Adkins


David Morningstar wrote on Jul 15th, 2009 at 9:02am:
Lots of longitudinal cuts. I can see that working well....


Title: Re: Medieval Finnish Slings
Post by funda_iucunda on Jul 15th, 2009 at 10:20am
Sorry for the lack of picture quality. It wasn't allowed to use a flashlight. The both left pouches are cut, the right one has a hole in the centre. The best work and the most interesting piece - I think - is the second left pouch. The cuts are 8 on one side and nine on the other. They are going along side in the middle. The effect of this is a certain widening of the centre of the pouch which allows to keep more or bigger stones in it.
What is a little bit confusing is that this pouch shows only one hole for one of the cords. I had a very careful look to the original and it seems to me that there was never a hole on the other end. Furthermoe on the other end no leather (and no hole in it) seems to be missing. May be that this sling was not yet finished when it came down to the ground of the harbour.

A general remark to archeological leather pouches: Except the Gdansk sling presented by winkleried I didn't see any cord belonging to the found pouches. My conclusion from that is that they probably were made from a different material that wasn't preserved under conditions that were suited to preserve leather. As far as I know (I'm an amateur) that in swamps or mudd leather can be well preserved but organic materials not. So this might be a reason to assume that the cords of all these leather pouch slings had been made from organic material, in the area of Haithabu/Schleswig most likely from flax/linen.

funda iucunda



Title: Re: Medieval Finnish Slings
Post by funda_iucunda on Jul 15th, 2009 at 10:25am
Hi Winkleried,

these pictures show the Schleswig findings. There has been found a number of quite similar pouches in Haithabu/Hedeby. Unfortunately I have no foto of them, just only sketches somewhere.

What was your experience with your replica? What is your explanation to the missing cords?

funda iucunda

Title: Re: Medieval Finnish Slings
Post by winkleried on Jul 15th, 2009 at 10:30am
The original Gdansk artifact didn't have the cord either( based on the original drawing). Only one I know of that could possibly have one is the Randers artifact.

I agree with ya on no cords being found. So when I build my replica slings for reenactment purposes, I use a variety of cords to give an idea. Not completely sold on the plant fiber theory, but i have heard it in other places.....

Marc Adkins


funda_iucunda wrote on Jul 15th, 2009 at 10:20am:
Sorry for the lack of picture quality. It wasn't allowed to use a flashlight. The both left pouches are cut, the right one has a hole in the centre. The best work and the most interesting piece - I think - is the second left pouch. The cuts are 8 on one side and nine on the other. They are going along side in the middle. The effect of this is a certain widening of the centre of the pouch which allows to keep more or bigger stones in it.
What is a little bit confusing is that this pouch shows only one hole for one of the cords. I had a very careful look to the original and it seems to me that there was never a hole on the other end. Furthermoe on the other end no leather (and no hole in it) seems to be missing. May be that this sling was not yet finished when it came down to the ground of the harbour.

A general remark to archeological leather pouches: Except the Gdansk sling presented by winkleried I didn't see any cord belonging to the found pouches. My conclusion from that is that they probably were made from a different material that wasn't preserved under conditions that were suited to preserve leather. As far as I know (I'm an amateur) that in swamps or mudd leather can be well preserved but organic materials not. So this might be a reason to assume that the cords of all these leather pouch slings had been made from organic material, in the area of Haithabu/Schleswig most likely from flax/linen.

funda iucunda


Title: Re: Medieval Finnish Slings
Post by slingbadger on Jul 15th, 2009 at 11:33am
Most of the slings I   have used are Hedeby based. They work wonderful. The larger stones fill the pouch, and the slits expand out. I also think the slits cut down on the air resistance when the sling is in use.

Title: Re: Medieval Finnish Slings
Post by slingbadger on Jul 15th, 2009 at 3:57pm
BTW, Funda, anyway of getting some sizes on the pouches? They are almost exactly like the Haithabu ones, and I'm willing to bet that the size is the same also.

Title: Re: Medieval Finnish Slings
Post by winkleried on Jul 15th, 2009 at 6:52pm
Well that's what I get for posting quickly at work, without reading the whole post..........
I saw the pic, assumed it was from Hedeby.

Ok assuming that it is extremly similar to the Hedeby sling in size......
My Hedeby replica has a three strand braided release and retention ends. Works fairly well with a large range of rocks. As well as some limited glandes casts I have done. Most of the air resistance I experienced was due to the design of the cords, but I do a lot of work with Balearic style slings so it's something i don't normally feel any more, Unless I work with one of my other historic slings.

Marc Adkins


funda_iucunda wrote on Jul 15th, 2009 at 10:25am:
Hi Winkleried,

these pictures show the Schleswig findings. There has been found a number of quite similar pouches in Haithabu/Hedeby. Unfortunately I have no foto of them, just only sketches somewhere.

What was your experience with your replica? What is your explanation to the missing cords?

funda iucunda


Title: Re: Medieval Finnish Slings
Post by winkleried on Jul 15th, 2009 at 6:54pm
That was part of my confusion earlier as well.

Marc Adkins


slingbadger wrote on Jul 15th, 2009 at 3:57pm:
BTW, Funda, anyway of getting some sizes on the pouches? They are almost exactly like the Haithabu ones, and I'm willing to bet that the size is the same also.


Title: Re: Medieval Finnish Slings
Post by the_warrior_yeti on Jul 16th, 2009 at 11:42pm

funda_iucunda wrote on Jul 15th, 2009 at 10:20am:
My conclusion from that is that they probably were made from a different material that wasn't preserved under conditions that were suited to preserve leather. As far as I know (I'm an amateur) that in swamps or mudd leather can be well preserved but organic materials not. So this might be a reason to assume that the cords of all these leather pouch slings had been made from organic material, in the area of Haithabu/Schleswig most likely from flax/linen.


That could be right, although generally what preserves artifacts in wet mud is the lack of oxygen. For materials to break down two things must be present, oxygen and water, so the viking ships discovered near Oslo for instance did not deteriorate because they were in clay and oxygen wasn't present, and with those were found all sorts of items including fabrics. On the other hand it could be some kind of acid in the soil there that is preserving the leather. But a possibility is that the slings were exposed long enough for the strings, which presumably would have deteriorated faster than the vegetable tanned leather (being tanned with vegetable acids, its much more stable than other forms of leather) to rot off before the leather pouch was buried in the mud.

Title: Re: Medieval Finnish Slings
Post by funda_iucunda on Jul 18th, 2009 at 8:43am
Well, I have no exact information for each sling. But the text says that the length of the shown slings is between 16 and 22,5 cm and the width between 5 and 12,5 cm. I think the best to do is to measure the length of the longest sling on the photo and assume this one is the one being in reality 22,5 cm long. All other measures on the depicted pouches could be calculated in relation to that. I didn't manage to calculate this on my own so far.

funda iucunda

Title: Re: Medieval Finnish Slings
Post by funda_iucunda on Jul 18th, 2009 at 8:43am
By the way, what does BTW mean?

funda

Title: Re: Medieval Finnish Slings
Post by slingbadger on Jul 19th, 2009 at 5:43am
It's short for by the way.

Title: Re: Medieval Finnish Slings
Post by slingbadger on Jul 20th, 2009 at 3:07pm
By my pitiful calculations ( badgers aren't good in the math department.) 22.5 cm translates to a little over 9 inches  long? One very big sling pouch. Again, maybe a slingstaff instead??

Title: Re: Medieval Finnish Slings
Post by winkleried on Jul 21st, 2009 at 10:59pm
Well we all know that badgers can't really type that well cause the claws get in the way. It's pretty much the same for counting, Well your "Swiss" buddy broke out his conversions :)

22.5 Cm=8.85 inches
16 cm = 6.29 inches
5 cm = 1.96 inches
12.5 cm = 4.92 Inches

Yeah the 22.5 cm pouch is probably for a staff-sling. But then again I belive this area had a reputation for staff-slingers. I think I remember I read a thread on this forum about the Finns using staff-slings to toss gernades during WWII ( But I could be mistaken

Marc Adkins



slingbadger wrote on Jul 20th, 2009 at 3:07pm:
By my pitiful calculations ( badgers aren't good in the math department.) 22.5 cm translates to a little over 9 inches  long? One very big sling pouch. Again, maybe a slingstaff instead??


Title: Re: Medieval Finnish Slings
Post by winkleried on Jul 21st, 2009 at 11:05pm
I sent a request to an old friend who is an assistant Libarian, Her is there response to the two Finnish Works

Found the ISBN number for the first book.  It is 951-9129-57-x

The website I found it on is org.utu.fi/muut/skas/index.php?s=en_amaf

Have not found a pdf for it on the web yet.  Will start on the second one tomorrow.

The second one is also on the same website with the ISBN # of 951-96801-4-4.

Also did not find a pdf of this one yet either.

Will see about those tomorrow.  Can not promise them though


So no Pdfs as of yet. The second text is in Swedish and Finnish with English summaries :(

Marc Adkins

Title: Re: Medieval Finnish Slings
Post by winkleried on Jul 22nd, 2009 at 11:33pm
Curently working on a prototype Schleswig sling. Using a 8 strand round braid out of Sisal. I will let the forum know how it handles when I get it all put togather and send some rocks downrange with it. It'll make a good comparison with my replica Hedeby sling. If it works out well I may braid a second set of cords out of hemp and add it to my medieval slinging display.

Marc Adkins



funda_iucunda wrote on Jul 15th, 2009 at 7:07am:
Here comes a picture of medieval slings from Schleswig. Schleswig is a town in the north of Germany and somehow the successor of the viking town Haithabu which is located two or three kilometeras south of Schleswig. Both are located at the fjord "Schlei" which had been a often frequented shipping way in former times. The sling had been found in the ground of the medieval harbour place and they are dated from 11 to 12th century.

funda iucunda


Title: Re: Medieval Finnish Slings
Post by Mangrove on Jul 23rd, 2009 at 6:44pm

winkleried wrote on Jul 21st, 2009 at 11:05pm:
So no Pdfs as of yet. The second text is in Swedish and Finnish with English summaries :(


I'm pretty sure there isn't any. I would love to translate the whole text to English but I can do nothing without the permission from the authors. By the way, here's their email's.

[1st and 2nd article] Janne Harjula: janhar[at]utu.fi
[1st] Sanna Jokela: sanna.jokela[at]utu.fi

Title: Re: Medieval Finnish Slings
Post by Mangrove on Dec 25th, 2009 at 11:51am

winkleried wrote on Jul 21st, 2009 at 10:59pm:
I think I remember I read a thread on this forum about the Finns using staff-slings to toss gernades during WWII ( But I could be mistaken


Sounds like a myth which leads to this Wikipedia entry; though I have seen a photo of a "frontmade" slingshot-type device.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molotov_cocktail

"This Finnish use of the hand- or sling-thrown explosive against Soviet tanks was repeated in the subsequent Continuation War".

Title: Re: Medieval Finnish Slings
Post by timpa on Mar 16th, 2019 at 8:56pm
I wrote an email to the author of that article (Lecturer at the University of Turku; Janne Harjula). I don't translate this, but you can put it on Google Translate:

Luin mielenkiintoisen vanhan artikkelisi ”Leluja vai aseita” Åbo Akademin tontilta löydetyistä linkonahoista.
Näin pitkäaikaisena linkoharrastajana voisin noista heittää maallikkoarvion:
ja oletan, että ulkonäkönsä puolesta ne ovat teinipoikien kyhäelmiä. Vaikka aika on kaltoinkohdellutkin niitä, niiden leikkaukset erottuvat, ja ovat niin karmeaa jälkeä, että teinipojat ovat varteenotettavin mahdollisuus. Myös nahkojen uusiokäyttö viittaa tähän. Nuo ovat yksi yhteen omien teinivuosien kaveripiirin kyhäelmien kanssa. (Nykyäänkin teen lähes tuollaisia, mutta syy on se, etten jaksa panostaa ulkonäköön. Toiminnallisuus on ainoa linko-kriteerini)
Eli Mätäjärven korttelin poikiin on aina välillä iskenyt linkovillitys, ja nämä ovat sitä perua. Sama kaava samanlaisilla lingoilla toistui esim. kloppiaikoinani 70-luvulla. Ja joka myös toistui meidän isiemme kloppiaikoina sotavuosina, jne jne.

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