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It was the ancient version of a last stand: Twelve clay bullets lined
up and ready to be shot from slings in a desperate attempt to stop
fierce invaders who soon would reduce much of the city to rubble.
The discovery was made in the ruins of Hamoukar, an ancient sett-
lement in northeastern Syria located just miles from the border with
Excavations have been going on at the site since 1999, but in digs
conducted this past fall, researchers uncovered new evidence of
the city's end and more clues about how urban life there may have
The University of Chicago was to announce the findings Tuesday.
The site was anything but peaceful in approximately 3,500 B.C.
The archaeologists have previously detailed how they believe
Hamoukar's independence was ended by a battle that caused its
buildings and walls to collapse and burn.
But along this basin, the researchers found neatly lined up along its
edge 12 "sling bullets," oval-shaped weapons made of clay that were
fired using slings.
More than 1,000 of the bullets were found in debris of collapsed walls
Reichel theorizes someone who usually worked with the clay sealings
was trying to contribute to the war effort and fashioned bullets from
the clay instead.
Originally posted by iori_komei
This is obviously not going to be interesting to everyone
This is obviously not going to be interesting to everyone, but none
In addition to the wall, the team has uncovered quasi-industrial installations and two large administrative buildings that had been destroyed by an intense fire. It was at the site that, mixed in with the debris from the collapsed wall, that over 1,000 egg-shaped sling bullets were found in 2005, leading the excavators to conclude that an early act of warfare had caused the end of the settlement.