Roman lead sling-bolts

Contributed by The Hunterian

Roman lead sling-bolts

These lead sling-bolts were found at Birrens Roman Fort, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland, and were picked by Helen Green, third year student at the University of Glasgow (Single Honours Archaeology). Helen writes - Soldiers in the Roman Army would have fired these from a sling and being made of lead - a heavy metal - they would have been quite a formidable weapon. Sling-bolts were in use by the Roman army from Republican times through the height of the Roman Empire. The sling-bolts are all of approximately the same dimensions. This means they could have been used for training purposes: a slinger can refine their skill using shot that is all about the same size. Stones of varying size will shoot through the air differently, affecting aim. These examples are also pointed, perhaps maximising their potential for inflicting damage. I like these because they appear to be mass-produced; making them a good reminder of the ruthless efficiency of the Romans when it came to conflict.

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Birrens Roman Fort


second century AD


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