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It was eventually replaced by the counterweight trebuchet, which is driven by a falling weight rather than manpower, in the Middle Ages. This leads rapidly to a primitive firearm, the “fire lance”, the first rocket, known as the “fire arrow”, and primitive bombs under the Song Dynasty (960 to 1279) – new technology partly driven by aggressive neighbours like the Jin Dynasty to the north.The Golden Age of Islam (600 to 1600 AD) rescues the advances of classical civilisations after the fall of the Roman Empire.Boomerangs are strongly associated with Australia’s Aboriginal people, but were actually used as hunting weapons throughout Europe and Africa. The oldest boomerang yet, 23,000 years, was made from a mammoth tusk and discovered in a cave in Poland (Nature, DOI: 10.1038/329436a0).The earliest arrowheads date from this time, suggesting that bows and arrows were in use.
The Bronze Age enables the development of the first metal daggers, and later swords.
Explore the history of war and weapons with our timeline of weapons technology.
Please note, many of the technologies are difficult to attribute, and historical dates are often approximate.
The Battle of Agincourt marks the zenith of mediaeval longbow technology.
An English army with a high proportion of archers decimates a French army five to 10 times larger.The British army begins using shrapnel shells (invented earlier by the Chinese), named for their inventor Henry Shrapnel.