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Rare ancient Cypriot lead sling bullet with bronze blades, need help! (Read 4803 times)
jlasud
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Re: Rare ancient Cypriot lead sling bullet with bronze blades, need help!
Reply #15 - Sep 8th, 2017 at 1:29pm
 
Long time ago ,I made one. It's better shaped ,and would perform better.Maybe wouldn't make that much noise.
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jlasud
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Re: Rare ancient Cypriot lead sling bullet with bronze blades, need help!
Reply #16 - Sep 8th, 2017 at 1:29pm
 
Different view
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Re: Rare ancient Cypriot lead sling bullet with bronze blades, need help!
Reply #17 - Sep 8th, 2017 at 1:36pm
 
Wow looks nice. Have you tried it out?
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Re: Rare ancient Cypriot lead sling bullet with bronze blades, need help!
Reply #18 - Sep 8th, 2017 at 3:40pm
 
Fun
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Re: Rare ancient Cypriot lead sling bullet with bronze blades, need help!
Reply #19 - Sep 9th, 2017 at 9:22am
 
Absolutely wicked, thank you for sharing your creation! Was there a document or reference you based the design off of?

Not quite related, but in the Spanish "Museum of the Sling" website that was posted on the site (many lovely ancient glandes that had me drooling), I saw this bimetallic iron/lead biconical bullet of Pompey. The regular inscribed bullets used by his forces are not rare finds, but this one was particularly interesting:

...

http://perso.wanadoo.es/hondero/proyectil30.html
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Re: Rare ancient Cypriot lead sling bullet with bronze blades, need help!
Reply #20 - Sep 9th, 2017 at 9:29am
 
Does the iron go all the way through the glande?
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Re: Rare ancient Cypriot lead sling bullet with bronze blades, need help!
Reply #21 - Sep 9th, 2017 at 11:00am
 
The museum's page doesn't seem to specify, but the lead body was clearly cast around the iron portion (instead of having the iron inserted afterward) so my assumption is that it was a solid single spike with the pointiest bits now rusted away. The right-hand side shows some slight impact-deformation to my eye. Another interesting example of improved or specialized sling tech.
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Re: Rare ancient Cypriot lead sling bullet with bronze blades, need help!
Reply #22 - Sep 9th, 2017 at 12:37pm
 
Definitely a deadly looking piece there. This seems like a piece made for "termination with extreme prejudice."

I wonder if only the highest level slingers recieved such ammunition?
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Re: Rare ancient Cypriot lead sling bullet with bronze blades, need help!
Reply #23 - Sep 19th, 2017 at 12:31pm
 
So here's an interesting sling bullet with an embossed triskelion; a symbol widely used in antiquity but when paired with a bullet my hunch is that it is from either Aspendos in Pamphylia or Selge in Pisidia, neighboring regions in Asia Minor both renowned for their highly talented mercenary slingers. The coin is a 10.58g silver stater from Selge 250-300 BC (Aspendos put out essentially identical staters) where their pride in their slingers was made quite apparent. bullet is 28.36g. I have no proof but prefer to believe that the bullet and coin make a pretty cool set.  Wink
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Re: Rare ancient Cypriot lead sling bullet with bronze blades, need help!
Reply #24 - Mar 5th, 2018 at 11:52pm
 
Well, a combination of luck and persistence paid off! I encouraged the detectorist in Cyprus that I obtained the first bullet from to ask his friends and search around his own accumulations for more bladed bullets, with the promise of double what I paid for the first bullet for each additional one. This motivated him to rummage about and find 1 damaged but nice and informative one in his collection (which he didn't charge for, a freebie for the ages!), and go buy 2 more undamaged examples from his detectorist friends for me. The first one is lovely but having another 3 is that much more useful for research and extrapolation.

Here are the weight and length measurements, top one is the original bullet, 58.08g, 1.623 inches/41.22mm. Center left is 61.20g, 1.544 inches/39.22mm. Center right is 66.15g, 1.641 inches/41.68mm. Bottom example is apparently missing a good amount of lead from one side, 44.39g, 1.675 inches/42.55mm. The bottom one is unusual, and as it (and the other 2) is still rather dirty some careful cleaning ought to reveal whether it was an incomplete cast (or an incomplete cast that got cold and then was filled up but the extra lead didn't adhere), perhaps partially melted away after getting launched, or had the lead shear off in some other strange manner. I don't see much evidence of it just having been mushed and deformed. Cleaning this one might provide valuable insight regarding the structure of the blade component. I'll keep y'all updated!
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Re: Rare ancient Cypriot lead sling bullet with bronze blades, need help!
Reply #25 - Mar 7th, 2018 at 2:22pm
 
Alas, this sort of activity depletes the archaeological record: no date, context, or secure information. Frankly, I think this is a shame.
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Re: Rare ancient Cypriot lead sling bullet with bronze blades, need help!
Reply #26 - Mar 7th, 2018 at 3:00pm
 
Understood, it would be much more useful if the items carried with them relevant contextual information, but for what it's worth the source stated that they were all found in disparate locations on the island; apparently corroborated by different patination/encrustations. Regarding dating them, there isn't anything archaeologically relevant to reference when they are singular items scattered in fields/rocky wastelands. Just like old coins detected in the wilderness, they themselves are about all the context that exists.

I found this thread, "A "winged" lead glans? DONE!" http://slinging.org/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1328017619/1 with academic/museum references to the bladed bullets from Cyprus, do any of these professional sources present the date, context, and secure information regarding the items? My professor wife may have institutional access to the articles but I do not, I'll need to enlist her assistance soon but you yourself quoted one of the articles and may be aware.
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Re: Rare ancient Cypriot lead sling bullet with bronze blades, need help!
Reply #27 - Mar 8th, 2018 at 10:13pm
 
I don't know anything about the colors of bronze oxidizing, but as bronze is mostly copper, shouldn't the patina be some shade of green or blue green?

Second, those bronze cores are awfully uniform for individually made items, aren't they?

And third, if they were found at several different sites, they seem awful uniform for items made by different people at different times.

If those were stone artifacts, my guess is that they would only be a couple of years old and were artificially aged in manure that would be kept moist with urine.  Just sayin'.

I would ask Theros' opinion on whether or not he thinks they may be modern.
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Re: Rare ancient Cypriot lead sling bullet with bronze blades, need help!
Reply #28 - Mar 8th, 2018 at 11:56pm
 
Thanks for your thoughts! Generally the fine green carbonate patination occurs in moist environments, but in more arid environments bronze often gets a dark oxide patina, as is the case with 3 of the bullets and millions of bronze coins and artifacts from that region of the Mediterranean. One bullet appears to trend more to the green, but it is encrusted and as-yet uncleaned.

The primary diagnostic regarding authenticity is the condition of the lead. Lead oxidizes very slowly and it is supremely difficult to artificially age lead items, at least convincingly. These pieces have a very thick pale oxide rind, which has become fragile and cracked and even broken off in chunks as though it were a brittle mineral specimen in some spots. It would take much more than a few years, or indeed a few hundred years in urine-soaked manure or the like to accomplish this. You will see what I mean in the attached images.

I believe that 2 bullets may have been from the same workshop, the top and center right examples, but it is difficult to say. Perhaps there was only ever 1 workshop responsible for the manufacture of all the bullets, which were then distributed and lobbed at hapless enemies all over the island. The blades were certainly cast in molds, so while there were likely different mold sets, the superficial uniformity is to be expected, as in the case with "Scythian" bronze arrowheads mass-produced by the millions with many mold-matched points points being found.

I spent nearly 4 hours very carefully cleaning the bottom example, and I now am of the opinion that the blades are not necessarily joined in the middle, but likely separate "D" shaped blades, with the straight post securing the blades on/in the lead within the body, and the curved blade portion being hollow to allow molten lead to enter and firmly secure the blades in position on either end. The blades were painstakingly hammer-hardened and possibly crimped slightly into the lead body during finishing, after casting the lead body around them. The 2 center bullets appear to have been cast with an excess of lead, surrounding the portions of the bronze blades proximal to the core instead of being cast flush, as with the top and bottom of the 4. These clearly took a great deal of time, skill and energy to produce relative to the common lead bullets.

I'll probably sketch some of what I'm trying to convey, and would be happy to provide additional photographs. Also, I think the cleaning job worked out very nicely in revealing more information about manufacture, and the stark contrast between dark bronze and light lead is simply lovely. This one was the best candidate for cleaning but I may try cleaning 1 or 2 others.

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Re: Rare ancient Cypriot lead sling bullet with bronze blades, need help!
Reply #29 - Mar 10th, 2018 at 9:19pm
 
After conducting the aforepictured cleaning it appeared likely that some of the internal bronze structure was lurking just below the lead oxide crust on the damaged side, and could be exposed with a bit more cleaning. The question of the structure of the bladed portion has been bothering me more than it should, and now I'm satisfied that the mystery has been mostly resolved.
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