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Petra’s catapult boulders

Historic site and monument, Historic patrimony in Castellane
  • Many catapult boulders can be found in Petra Castellana. During the excavations, archaeologists found several dozens of them.

  • Every boulder is made of grey limestone, a local stone. They are quite round but they can be barrel-shaped and they often have a flat side so they could be easily stacked and stocked. On average, a boulder weighs 40 kg (88 lbs).

    The boulders were used against the city of Petra Castellana, therefore they were not a stock of ammunitions intended to be used against Petra’s ennemies. They were launched from outside the ramparts, probably from an overlooking ledge located to the north of the...
    Every boulder is made of grey limestone, a local stone. They are quite round but they can be barrel-shaped and they often have a flat side so they could be easily stacked and stocked. On average, a boulder weighs 40 kg (88 lbs).

    The boulders were used against the city of Petra Castellana, therefore they were not a stock of ammunitions intended to be used against Petra’s ennemies. They were launched from outside the ramparts, probably from an overlooking ledge located to the north of the city, about 70 m from the fortifications. Of all the ballistic devices used during the Middle Ages, the bricole seems to be the most suited to the location. It is indeed light, fast and accurate. According to the archives, we know that Petra Castellana was besieged twice, maybe thrice : in 1189 and in 1262, maybe also in 1368. After the last siege, the city was abandoned for good and the inhabitants - who had already begun to leave - settled in the village bellow once and for all, where Castellane now stands. Many boulders were later used as stones to build walls on the site and along the paths. Try to spot some of them!
  • Spoken languages
    • French