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Sling bullet discovery in france. (Read 6869 times)
Curious Aardvark
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Sling bullet discovery in france.
Feb 19th, 2014 at 6:35am
 
Chap sent me and mauro an email:

Quote:
Hello,

I am a journalist and I wrote a blog post about a new discovery in
France (sling bullets). It may be interesting for the members (and
experts !) of this forum. It is in french, sorry.

http://archeo.blog.lemonde.fr/2014/02/18/un-guet-apens-en-bord-de-seine-a-lage-d...

In short :
- 500 sling bullets
- in chalk
- in Normandy, near Seine river
- the bullets seem to have been thrown
- it looks like an attack (some people seemed to target others on a
river crossing)

Best regards
Nicolas Constans


Anyone give us an overall view type translation ?
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Caldou
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Re: Sling bullet discovery in france.
Reply #1 - Feb 19th, 2014 at 6:57am
 
Will do this afternoon.
Another piece of info : the ammo weighted around 70gr.

There is another link related : http://archeo.blog.lemonde.fr/guet-apens-de-lage-du-bronze-quelques-complements/

Will do some translation too ^^
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Re: Sling bullet discovery in france.
Reply #2 - Feb 19th, 2014 at 10:25am
 
Caldou wrote on Feb 19th, 2014 at 6:57am:
Will do some translation too ^^

Much obliged.
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Pikåru wrote on Nov 19th, 2013 at 6:59pm:
Massi - WTF? It's called a sling. You use it to throw rocks farther and faster than you could otherwise. That's all. 
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Re: Sling bullet discovery in france.
Reply #3 - Feb 19th, 2014 at 10:50am
 
Caldou wrote on Feb 19th, 2014 at 6:57am:
the ammo weighted around 70gr.


A really good at throwing the weight.
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Caldou
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Re: Sling bullet discovery in france.
Reply #4 - Feb 19th, 2014 at 11:52am
 
First one :

Archeologists found traces of what may have been an ambush during the Bronze Age. A deadly weapon, unknown in Occident until then was used : the sling.

Picture : on the left side, the ford aimed at by the slingers, on the right side, a sling ammo in chalk.

[scenarii of an ambush]

Some of the french national archeology institute's archeologists, Cyril Marcigny and his colleagues, found in Alizay, Normandy, more than 500 sling shots in an old Seine channel, dated form 1600 BC, the Bronze Age. The ambush hypotesis is quite convincing.
It may also be a pile of bullets, like in the Iron Age hillforts.
But it is unlikely since the ammo was not only at the bottom of the channel, but also on both sides. And a fallen heap of stones would have stayed at the same sedimentary height, which was not the case here. And the river was too small to displace hundreds of 70grams bullets.

Examining the stones show use : some were chipped, buried or damaged. They were thrown, and hard.
However the sling is also a hunting weapon. But what kind of prey needs so much ammo ? And that's quite a strange hunting strategy to lead an animal in a (small) river to stone it to death. And ethnology show that the sling is more used to hunt bird than earth-bound animals.

Another element points toward human targets : the ford itself. Several blocks of limestone were found in the old channel, which is nothing near a powerful mountain stream. So these stones were brought to ease the crossing of the river. Another ford was 100m downstream.

Both were targeted by the slingers. Maybe groups of humans  were crossing the channel when they were attacked. “Those 2 bullets heaps may not be contemporary” said the archeologist. Two different attacks, months or years apart would mean this ford was quite the deathtrap.

This ambush is a first. More evidences are mostly found for later in the era, around 1200 BC, like in Germany (follow the link, “photos” is in english with pictures Wink ), a time of conflicts.

However those bullets' period may also be dangerous times, due to societal changes. Previously, only the rich and powerful were buried in burial mounds. But for this period, dead people are buried all together and without social markers. Those changes may mean troubles. In Wassenaar, Netherlands, a mass grave was probably the evidence of violent deaths.

Those results will be officialy published later.
Thanks to Cyril Marcigny and Erik Gallouin.

By Nicolas Constans

Second one :

How do archeologists know those are sling ammo ?
Because they are rugby ball shaped and this shape didn't change for ages. It allows them to stabilize while rotating, like guns bullets, shells, frisbees and ricochets. In Alizay, they are 5 to 8 cm long. There are also some round bullets, but very few.

What are they made of ?
They are in chalk, a material unknown yet for sling shots. The oldest bullets found, near the Mediterranean sea, are made of ceramics or lead. But chalk is everywhere in Normandy. And it's not very difficult to make the slings (I guess he meant bullets...). With a flint blade, it took only 10 to 20 minutes to make an identical twin. It makes a very hard bullet, and even more once wet.

How dangerous were those weapons ?
Distance achieved is variable. Depending on the sling length, the archeologists reached 40 to 80 meters. In Alizay, it was enough for slingers posted on the banks of the channel to reach people crossing the ford. “With a trained slinger, accuracy is deadly” explains Cyril Marcigny. Ethnographic studies show that sling wounds can be awful. A sling bullet can pierce the skull.

How do you throw the sling ?
Since Antiquity, Balearics slingers were highly considered (Strabon). Today, they are still slinging. Slow-mo of a Balearic slinger (Thanks David Morningstar Wink )

What did the slings look like ?
Often in fibers, they are rarely found. A rare piece was found in Egypt and dated from the Late Bronze Age, around 800BC.

A big digging area
It's a very large dig, around 10hectares because there will be an aggregate quarry. They found many more archeologic sites, like an ancient hunter-gatherer hut or a defensive camp against Vikings.
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« Last Edit: Feb 21st, 2014 at 3:14pm by Caldou »  

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Re: Sling bullet discovery in france.
Reply #5 - Feb 19th, 2014 at 12:45pm
 
Please note that this is a really butchered translation, I could have done better had I taken the time to make nice sentences ^^
I will send an email to the author, asking for his permission (and thanking him Smiley ).
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Re: Sling bullet discovery in france.
Reply #6 - Feb 19th, 2014 at 5:18pm
 
Great stuff
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Re: Sling bullet discovery in france.
Reply #7 - Feb 19th, 2014 at 7:28pm
 
well, I can't read french, german, or italian.
Or russian for that matter.

I think 50-80m is a bit too low.
Maybe somebody hitting his car from 100m might convince him? (DON'T DO IT!!!!!!!)
I think 150m for carved chalk is about right.
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Re: Sling bullet discovery in france.
Reply #8 - Feb 20th, 2014 at 6:33am
 
I imagine they would explode or break on impact, like clay glandes. Since chalk also contains silicates, breathing in the dust could be bad for you.
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Re: Sling bullet discovery in france.
Reply #9 - Feb 20th, 2014 at 7:24am
 
Caldou wrote on Feb 19th, 2014 at 12:45pm:
Please note that this is a really butchered translation, I could have done better had I taken the time to make nice sentences ^^
I will send an email to the author, asking for his permission (and thanking him Smiley ).


Well it makes sense to me and reads okay, so many thanks Thumbs Up

Also coincidental that I've had afew emails from someone recently talking about ambush slinging in a very similiar situation. But they gave me no detail on the why or when noidea
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Re: Sling bullet discovery in france.
Reply #10 - Feb 20th, 2014 at 4:19pm
 
Thank you, it was a very good translation.  I was able to read it and understand it without any problems.

How close are you to the site?  If you are close enough, you may want to demonstrate what someone who has some experience slinging can do with a sling.

I don't know if they would shatter or not, it will depend on what they hit.  Fired clay glandes can hit wood several times without shattering, especially if the range is over 25-30 meters.

One last thing, could the stones in the ford be there to catch debris and form a shallow pool or pond?  Then the area could have been used to concentrate some type of water fowl such as ducks or geese.
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Re: Sling bullet discovery in france.
Reply #11 - Feb 21st, 2014 at 7:49am
 
Well, I'm more than 4 hours away, so it's quite a long ride to throw some stones ^^
And I would need some intensive training, I'm more on the lazy side of training :p

There is a picture on the main blog post with the ford being digged, I will let you scrutinize it Wink
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Re: Sling bullet discovery in france.
Reply #12 - Feb 24th, 2014 at 6:06am
 
Quote:
One last thing, could the stones in the ford be there to catch debris and form a shallow pool or pond?  Then the area could have been used to concentrate some type of water fowl such as ducks or geese.

I like that idea Thumbs Up

But surely for fowl you'd use smaller, denser spherical ammo in a shotgun effect ? 
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Re: Sling bullet discovery in france.
Reply #13 - Feb 24th, 2014 at 7:47am
 
Didn't this guy post on here a couple of years ago?

C_A, not a clue.  I haven't been able to throw multiple projectiles worth a hoot but all that means is I can't throw multiple projectiles worth a hoot. 

If you are throwing into water, you can be pretty sure your ammo is a one shot deal, there won't be much retrieving of it.  The chalk ammo is easy to make, uniform in size and weight and pretty smooth, so it ought to skip well.  And possibly, they were throwing from a pretty good distance to avoid scaring the ducks. 

Or maybe they were a covering force for the ford like the article guessed. Grin
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Re: Sling bullet discovery in france.
Reply #14 - Feb 24th, 2014 at 11:00am
 
For throwing at ducks, why not make sun dried clay?? much easier and quicker. And clay is everywhere.
I can see the trouble of making chalk ammo for war..but mass producing for slinging at ducks..
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