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Discovery of Ancient Roman Bullets Reveals Clues of 1800-Year-Old Battle

Oct 08, 2016 04:00 AM EDT
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There are more than 800 lead Roman bullets were excavated in Burnswak Hill located at southern Scotland by a team of researchers and volunteers. An ancient battle ensued in the area, judging the disribution of the found Roman bullets.

According to BBC News, the hill fort is found north the Hadrian's Wall, which was created across southern Scotland and served as the northern border of the Roman Empire for many years. Hadrian's Wall was built during the reign of Emperor Hadrian (A.D. 117 to 138).

Unearthed from trenches that surrounds the fort are array of bullets, ranging from sling bullets, small lead bullets drilled with holes, and largest lemon-shaped sling bullets that as heavy as 2 ounces.

Archaeologist Andrew Nicholson, who led the excavations explained that different kinds of bullets are found in different places will help predict on how the battle progressed.

"The interesting thing is that all the whistling sling bullets are from the Roman camp on the south face of the hill fort, so clearly they are using different sling bullets for different purposes," he told Live Science.

One of the fascinating finds in the site are the "whistling" sling bullets, which are the small lead bullets drilled with holes that makes "whistling" sounds to "terrorize" the enemies. Most of this kind are found in the southern side of the hill fort.  Archaeologists unearthed the largest cache of Roman lead sling bullets in this area -- which is the largest ever found.

Burnswak Hill is surrounded by two Roman military camps. The camp found south side of the hill while the other at the north. Researchers predicted that the southern side will trap the defenders while the northern will make an assault. The 2nd  century battle happened during the reign of Roman emperor Antoninus Pius after 138 A.D. where he ordered the invasion of the Scottish tribes that were in the north of Hadrian's Wall.

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