Glass hand grenades , 17./18. Jahrhundert

About the object

The existence of hand grenades has been recorded in sources dating back to the 15th century; what is now a generic name for the device dates back to the16th century and derives from the words grenade (or grenadine) the Old French word for pomegranate, which it resembles. As a rule, grenades were hollow balls of clay filled with gunpowder. The first report of glass hand grenades was during the Turkish siege of Vienna in 1683. They generated a particularly lethal splinter effect by virtue of the casing’s material. Made of green forest glass, these hand grenades were found in 2007/08 during an archaeological dig on the site of the future »Quartier Unterlinden« development on the northwest corner of Freiburg's Old Town. They had been placed under the walls as explosive material during the siege of the fortress in 1744/45 and are among the oldest surviving specimens of their kind.

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