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Medieval projectile found a stone’s throw from Edinburgh Castle

A large carved stone that was probably launched from a medieval catapult or trebuchet has been excavated at Edinburgh’s Grassmarket. Similar in size and appearance to a cannonball, it was contextually dated to the 13th century – 200 years before the introduction of gunpower and cannons to Scotland. AOC Archaeology, who made the discovery, believes that it could have been used as a projectile, and its location suggests that the stone may have been propelled either from or towards the ramparts of Edinburgh Castle.

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Current Archaeology 349

Three of our features this month focus on finds recently declared ‘Treasure’ according to the 1996 Treasure Act – legislation that has helped museums acquire many important artefacts for public display. The Heritage Minister has now proposed a number of revisions to the Act, and has launched a public consultation on them. See p.16 of […]

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Bullets, ballistas, and Burnswark

A Roman assault on a hillfort in Scotland The ancient author Josephus once observed of the Roman military that ‘their training manoeuvres are battles without bloodshed, and their battles manoeuvres with bloodshed’. The difficulty in distinguishing between these states is well illustrated by the residue from a Roman artillery barrage at Burnswark. Were they aiming […]