Archaeologists in Scotland discovered a stone ball that was used as a weapon during the middle ages. The team of archaeologists from AOC Archaeology were investigating a site in the Grassmarket area of Edinburgh prior to the beginning of the construction of a 250-bed hotel and that’s when they found the rare stone ball.
It was used like a cannonball during a medieval siege. And what’s even more interesting is that Edinburgh Castle is located near the location where the ball was found. The castle was besieged over two dozen times since the twelfth century. The discovery of the stone ball will help researchers better understand military technology during the middle ages and especially Scotland’s Wars of Independence from 1296 to 1316.
Very few stone balls have ever been found in Europe and that’s why this discovery is so important. Stones would be sculpted and made into round shapes (like a cannonball) that were fired from a catapult with massive force. These stone balls were used during the medieval era and long before the development of cannons.
In other news, a woman who was out for a walk with her husband noticed something sticking out of the ground which led to the discovery of two Roman busts. The statues, which were found near the Israeli city of Beit She’an, date back to the Late Roman period (third to fourth centuries). After the couple contacted the Antiquities Authority Theft Prevention Unit, inspectors dug up the busts which were then taken to the Israel Antiquities Authority laboratories to be preserved.
Eitan Klein, who is the deputy head of the Israel Antiquities Authority Theft Prevention Unit, said, “These busts were made of local limestone and they show unique facial features, details of clothing and hairstyles. It seems that at least one of them depicts a bearded man. Busts like these were usually placed near or in a burial cave, and they may have represented the image of the deceased along general lines.”
According to Klein, other similar busts have been previously found in the Beit She’an area as well as in the northern part of Jordan. He also explained that each bust is unique and not one resembles another, “These busts are in the Oriental style, which shows that at the end of the Roman period, the use of Classical art had subsided, and local trends came into vogue.”
According to Nir Distelfeld (the Israel Antiquities Authority Theft Prevention Unit inspector), heavy rain in the area is more than likely the reason why these two busts were exposed in the ground. It’s actually not that unusual for Israeli locals who are out taking a stroll to find archaeological relics. However, the finds must be reported because according to their law, antiquities belong to the state so those who find the relics are not allowed to sell, hoard, or trade them.