4000 YEARS OF HEBREW ORDNANCE rocks to rockets

Two items which have escaped me in my collecting are 1) a Roman catapult stone from the siege at Masada and 2) a 10th Legion sling bolt from the same.


YES, the rock is the father of all ammunition and was the ammunition of choice for years too many to know from the distant past.

These are the only actual rocks in my collection. I do have a stone cannon ball but that is far too big to count as a mere rock.

The siege of the Roman 10th Legion on the remnants of the final rebellion of the Jews in 71-72 AD at the desert fortress called MASADA is a quintessential story of determined adversaries.

These stones were recovered at the site.

Stones of this size were exchanged over and over by sling and reused by both sides.

The “standard” sling projectile of a Roman legion was a lead football shaped bolt about an inch long often marked with the number of the legion. The 10th was marked with an “X”. When these were spent a rock of the size shown was just as good for area targets or point targets if one was good with the weapon.

I displayed these for years in my ammunition display and never went home without being asked once " how do you know the fellow who you got these from didn’t just pick them up in his yard and chuckles behind your back each time he thinks about it?"

The fact is in any universe of religion or philosophy a man’s integrity is his only earthly prize. Goods exchanged in good faith are the responsibility of both parties and I obtained these in a good faith exchange. (see below)


Not far from the site of the siege at MASADA this current ancestor of those early stones is being made. This is an Israeli SIGMA electronic fuze. It is for a mortar shell or a rocket- not identified yet and is state of the art in fuze design.


Totally AWESOME! Rocks are big time ammo and those are great. I have been to Masada and even climbed it but never thought to look for this historic ammo. It must have been an incredible experience when Jon found them.

PS: I want a picture of David’s sling ammo he killed Goliath with. I wonder if that is the oldest recorded projectile? Probably not.

It is an amazing place to visit. The view of the Roman wall and camps from the top is fascinating. Did you also go to the ramp side where the final Roman attack took place? That is where some of the displays and reconstructions were. Renovations, security concerns, and conservation efforts have really changed the area over the years.

Israeli soldiers take their oath on top of Masada fortress as I understand it.

Yes Jon, I totally remember that amazing view and the site of the Roman camps. It must have been horrifying to be their waiting for them to finnish that ramp. Israel is one of the most incredible places I have ever been. My folks are their now for 8 weeks. :-) One of my favorite things on top of Massada was the MASSIVE cisterns they built to store water carved out of solid rock in the mountain.

I am pretty sure you are correct CSA about the soldiers taking their oath on top of Massada. I think that is were they are issued their guns? I remember when I was their meeting a group of soldiers that were just initiated. They had to hike tremendous distances, I think from Jerusalem to Massada, then climb it, before taking their oath. I remember a few them had incredibly damaged feet when they got back and they all had smiles even though they were in extreme pain. I was their 3 times, my first was in 1982 during a war with Lebanon. In my life, I have never seen or heard of a country pull together like Israel in a time of war. Civilians would donate their trucks and cars to the cause. Every road in and out of the conflict was filled with civilians roadside cooking and providing drinks for the troops. It was just incredible. People near the conflict areas would have troops stay in their homes. Religious soldiers always had a place for a good Shabbat dinner, ect. They say it is the only, “Peoples Army” in the world.

Anyhow, Massada was amazing as is its story. It was a tuff climb, that’s for sure!

A selection of Roman sling bolts.

These are lead. The brown color is very old dirt not rust.

Those are great CSA! I wish I looked for some when I was their!

Jason, in general, soldiers’ oath is taken at the site of basic when you officially receive your rifle. Most of the ceremonies on Masada, as mine was, are the end of the Masah Kumtah, or Beret March. It is like a graduation ceremony when you earn and receive your beret.

That’s what it was! You get your beret on Masada, not your gun! Thanks Jon! Were does the march typically begin? I remember the soldiers coming back totally exhausted and so happy.

Not sure. Mine began about 45 kms. away at a place called Um Daraj.

That’s a major hike, no doubt. Thanks for serving Israel! I’m going crazy for a IMI 105 MM or 120 APFSDS inert round :-) They have some unique sabot designs. But those are much bigger then sling rocks. The ones you found are really cool. I also like the lead football shaped ones.

What is ammunition?

The OED ( Oxford English Dictionary) which is the benchmark authority for the English language defines AMMUNITION as “Military stores or supplies…Articles used in charging guns and ordnance , powder , shot , shell and by extension offensive missiles generally”.

The first recognized use of the word in an English language document is recorded to Roger Bacon in 1626.

Does this satisfy our use of the word? Generally,yes. My definition is this: Projectable and explosive devices designed to do work by impact or impulse.

Here are projectable devices made over 2000 years ago to do work by impact.

Bottom and left are spear heads made in the ancient Persian culture called LURISTAN.

To the right is a Hebrew spear head of a similar age.

The center item is a Luristanian sword which is not ammunition as it is not DESIGNED to be projected.

Those are great! I think I spyed them on your office wall :-)

Yes , these are some of my favorite toys. They are all among the best in condition ever found. The Hebrew spear head is very rare.

2000 BC !

2000 BC, Holy Cow! Well, at least, holy :-)