Pages: 1 2 3 ... 13
Send Topic Print
Sling Defence of Iron Age Hillforts (Read 15085 times)
mile-end
Junior Member
**



Student of the Iron Age

Posts: 65
Gender: male
Sling Defence of Iron Age Hillforts
Jan 25th, 2012 at 7:57am
 
Im studying Archaeology as a retirement project and I am planning a Masters dissertation on the topic of the defence qualities of Iron Age ramparts. I know some of you expert slingers have commented on previous experiments by Jon Bryant Finney and it occurred to me to ask if it might be possible to enlist your expertise in the design and conduct of my study.

What Im looking into is whether the changes of rampart design in the Middle Iron Age did improve how well the hillforts could be defended by slingers. (The ramparts changed shape, and additional ramparts were added; many authorities think this wasnt to do with improving defence.) Unlike Finneys experiment, range would not be the only issue; Id want to consider accuracy and how youd achieve the right trajectory to exploit the design of the ramparts.

If I get to doing quantified experiments, Id want to use expert slingers as participants (I have previous experience of human performance experiments), but a qualitative examination of the idea would come first, again with expert input being necessary.

The hillforts Im talking about are mostly in southern England and in Wales, and if I do an experiment Id probably be using a suitably-shaped hillside in southern England, so slingers in this area would be most useful, but of course input by email could also help.

If you'd be interested in helping, please let me know.

Thanks,

Pete Robertson
Back to top
 
 

Pete Robertson
mile-end mile-end   IP Logged
Mauro Fiorentini
Slinging.org Moderator
*****



Forge your future with
the hammer of your mind!

Posts: 3206
Gender: male
Re: Sling Defence of Iron Age Hillforts
Reply #1 - Jan 25th, 2012 at 8:13am
 
Hallo Pete, welcome to the site!
I'm a young Italian archaeologist, and have graduated with a thesis on experimental archaeology.
My thesis focused specifically on the production of weapons during the Italian Iron Age (IXth - VIIth Century b.C.), and I'm using slings for one year.
Although not quite skilled in slinging as most other forum members here, I'd be happy to help you in other aspects of your research!
Just let me know how I could help you, and first of all: when you'll have to present your efforts?
Greetings,
Mauro.
Back to top
 
 
  IP Logged
Dan
Interfector Viris Spurii
SlingingGuide Moderator
*****



Slinging Rocks!

Posts: 3860
Gender: male
Re: Sling Defence of Iron Age Hillforts
Reply #2 - Jan 25th, 2012 at 8:25am
 
CA and David moringstar are in your country (not really sure about geography), as well as a few others I believe, and they have been slinging for a good while now.  Wink

If you have any questions on authenticity or just general slinging the group on here will have an answer for you.

Welcome!
Back to top
 
 

"Like tying a stone to a sling is the giving of honor to a fool" Proverbs 26:8

SALVATION: By Grace alone, through Faith alone, in Christ alone.
  IP Logged
David Morningstar
Slinging.org Moderator
Forum Moderator
*****



Slinging Rocks!

Posts: 3064
Re: Sling Defence of Iron Age Hillforts
Reply #3 - Jan 25th, 2012 at 9:51am
 
C_A, Badger and myself have slung from the ramparts of Danebury hill fort.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xW912BD9gZM

My hypothesis is that the outer set of earthworks is not intended to be manned. It is there to force the attackers to bunch up and make a denser mass that it much easier to get hits with.

Your best attacking strategy is to gather outside the maximum range of the defenders then run towards the fort in open order so that there is plenty of room in between each attacker for slingstones to land harmlessly in. The large shield of that period would be raised over the head at about 45 degrees to provide protection.

Once the attack meets the outer earthwork they are slowed greatly and will bunch up. This is where the slingers at the inner earthwork can really get their kills since any slingstone into that mass will hit something, and if hitting the shield of one man, may easily be deflected into the ribs of the next man etc.

Once the attackers reach the stockade the defenders at the point of attack would switch to spears but defenders on either side would keep slinging, having the advantage of shooting from the side while the attackers shields are occupied from the front.
Back to top
 
 
  IP Logged
Mauro Fiorentini
Slinging.org Moderator
*****



Forge your future with
the hammer of your mind!

Posts: 3206
Gender: male
Re: Sling Defence of Iron Age Hillforts
Reply #4 - Jan 25th, 2012 at 10:30am
 
I'd like to look at some paintings of the fort, taken from above... I'm thinking to a defensive "building" found in my Region, dating to the Copper Age.
It's very peculiar for it's moat, seen from the sky, is like a }
This allowed slingers or archers to take invaders into a crossed fire!
Greetings,
Mauro.
Back to top
 
 
  IP Logged
kentuckythrower
Descens
***



Illegitimi non carborundum

Posts: 227
Re: Sling Defence of Iron Age Hillforts
Reply #5 - Jan 25th, 2012 at 11:09pm
 
Hi Pete,
I too am pursuing a degree in archaeology and am wanting to help. I have a good deal of experience with slinging and have been an avid student of the history of field fortifications. As a retired army officer, I may be able to shed some light on the complexities associated with the attack and defense of entrenched positions such as your hillforts.
Back to top
 
 
  IP Logged
kentuckythrower
Descens
***



Illegitimi non carborundum

Posts: 227
Re: Sling Defence of Iron Age Hillforts
Reply #6 - Jan 26th, 2012 at 3:19pm
 
Pete, Get a load of the event Rockman just posted!!! This may give you some idea what two bodies of troops armed with slings may have looked like.
Back to top
 
 
  IP Logged
mile-end
Junior Member
**



Student of the Iron Age

Posts: 65
Gender: male
Re: Sling Defence of Iron Age Hillforts
Reply #7 - Jan 27th, 2012 at 10:28am
 
Thanks to everyone who's responded. I've replied to a couple specifically, but to save repeating myself:
a) I'm still getting the plan together, have plenty of time but want to do the qualitative view much sooner than the experiement
b) I appreciate the "tactics" input from David and I expect that Kentuckythrower could be v helpful in respect of tactics!
c) the Iron Age in Wessex is approx 800 BC to 43 AD; during that period things changed in a number of respects, so what may be true for one time may not for another, but my intention is to look specifically at the reasons/function of some systematic (?) changes to hillforts in the middle period, as a systematic change might reasonably be assumed to be deliberate functional design 

I haven't got the hang of using your forum yet, so please forgive me if I'm slow replying.

Cheers!

Pete
Back to top
 
 

Pete Robertson
mile-end mile-end   IP Logged
kentuckythrower
Descens
***



Illegitimi non carborundum

Posts: 227
Re: Sling Defence of Iron Age Hillforts
Reply #8 - Jan 27th, 2012 at 3:41pm
 
This appears to be a project I can sink my teeth into.
Back to top
 
 
  IP Logged
Mauro Fiorentini
Slinging.org Moderator
*****



Forge your future with
the hammer of your mind!

Posts: 3206
Gender: male
Re: Sling Defence of Iron Age Hillforts
Reply #9 - Jan 27th, 2012 at 4:10pm
 
Pete, you've got a PM  Smiley
Really can't wait to see what this hillfort looks like!
Greetings,
Mauro.
Back to top
 
 
  IP Logged
kentuckythrower
Descens
***



Illegitimi non carborundum

Posts: 227
Re: Sling Defence of Iron Age Hillforts
Reply #10 - Jan 28th, 2012 at 6:21am
 
Tactics 101...When the enemy's in range...so are you!!! Remember there's probably a very good chance that the force attacking your hillfort has a contigent of slingers that are hell-bent on clearing your guys off the parapets.
Back to top
 
 
  IP Logged
kentuckythrower
Descens
***



Illegitimi non carborundum

Posts: 227
Re: Sling Defence of Iron Age Hillforts
Reply #11 - Jan 28th, 2012 at 6:44am
 
While I'm thinking about it...The attackers are more than likely very familiar with the defense of hillforts as they probably have a few of their own. They know what they're coming up against well ahead of time and will make every effort to use their knowledge to overcome the defenders. Also, we cannot neglect the role archers and other warriors may play. This fight's going to get messy...quick, fasy, and in a hurry.
Back to top
 
 
  IP Logged
David Morningstar
Slinging.org Moderator
Forum Moderator
*****



Slinging Rocks!

Posts: 3064
Re: Sling Defence of Iron Age Hillforts
Reply #12 - Jan 28th, 2012 at 9:32am
 
kentuckythrower wrote on Jan 28th, 2012 at 6:21am:
Tactics 101...When the enemy's in range...so are you!!! Remember there's probably a very good chance that the force attacking your hillfort has a contigent of slingers that are hell-bent on clearing your guys off the parapets.


The elevation of the hill gives a huge range advantage to the defenders. Trying to sling at the defenders would be a dicey proposition. The Romans did successfully use slingers against hillforts but they were almost certainly using lead bullets to offset the height disadvantage. British slingers only used stone or baked clay ammo.

Strangely, there is no evidence of archery in Iron Age Britain. I find impossible to believe there wasnt any, but the lack of finds is remarkable.
Back to top
 
 
  IP Logged
mile-end
Junior Member
**



Student of the Iron Age

Posts: 65
Gender: male
Re: Sling Defence of Iron Age Hillforts
Reply #13 - Jan 29th, 2012 at 11:00am
 
<Sigh> Just wasted about 45 minutes sending Mauro some coordinates for hill forts, that the website seems to have thrown away. (I must read the help page, I suppose.) to prevent that happening again, I'm putting them here.

Site            North      West
Danebury            51 8.2      1 32.2
Maiden Castle      50 41.6      2 28.3
Badbury Rings      50 49.5      2 3.1
Hod Hill            50 53.7      2 12.3
Hambledon Hill      50 54.7      2 13.3
Yarnbury            51 8.7      1 57.0
Bury Hill            51 11.3      1 30.4
Figsbury            51 6.2      1 43.8
Trer Ceiri            52 8.2      4 25.4

All those are clear on Google Earth. Most are in Wessex, but I included one in Wales for variety (note the hut circles).

Pete
Back to top
 
 

Pete Robertson
mile-end mile-end   IP Logged
Mauro Fiorentini
Slinging.org Moderator
*****



Forge your future with
the hammer of your mind!

Posts: 3206
Gender: male
Re: Sling Defence of Iron Age Hillforts
Reply #14 - Jan 29th, 2012 at 1:34pm
 
Thank you Pete!
I'm going to look for them now; I'll also look for these defences I wrote you about and compare these aerial photographs.
Later,
Mauro.
Back to top
 
 
  IP Logged
Pages: 1 2 3 ... 13
Send Topic Print