Some 1,800 years ago, Roman troops used “whistling” sling bullets as a “terror weapon” against their barbarian foes, according to archaeologists who found the cast lead bullets at a site in Scotland.Weighing about 1 ounce (30 grams), each of the bullets had been drilled with a 0.2-inch (5 millimeters) hole that the researchers think was designed to give the soaring bullets a sharp buzzing or whistling noise in flight.
The bullets were found recently at Burnswark Hill in southwestern Scotland, where a massive Roman attack against native defenders in a hilltop fort took place in the second century A.D. [See Photos of Roman Battle Site and Sling Bullets]These holes converted the bullets into a “terror weapon,” said archaeologist John Reid of the Trimontium Trust, a Scottish historical society directing the first major archaeological investigation in 50 years of the Burnswark Hill site.
“You don’t just have these silent but deadly bullets flying over; you’ve got a sound effect coming off them that would keep the defenders’ heads down,” Reid told Live Science. “Every army likes an edge over its opponents, so this was an ingenious edge on the permutation of sling bullets.”
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