Crazy Catapults inspired by the Romans in Yorkshire

Hill Forts and Catapults

The native Britons lived in different tribes across Britain. The typical type of house was a round house made with wattle and daub walls and a thatch roof.

These were often in villages or sometimes formed part of a hill fort. Some of these are massive earthworks and the most common have ditches cut around the top of hills. The earth taken from the ditches were then heaped up to form great banks. On the top of these defensive timber revetements or fences were placed. Sometimes the entrance to the hill fort was through a complicated system of earth works. Hill forts can be found in Yorkshire at Almondbury, Ingleborough and Sutton Bank.


For more information on the reconstruction of Iron Age Houses see the Castell Henllys and Butser websites (links at the bottom of this page)

For more information on Hill Forts in Yorkshire go to the Brigantes Nation, or Dales Castles websites (links below)


In order to conqueror Britain, the Romans had to capture these defensive hill forts. It was not an easy job, but with extremely organized troops and tatics, along with superior equipment such as catapults, the Romans easily completed the task.

The Romans got the idea for catapults from the Greeks and the name katapaltes means 'to hurl down'. Julius Caesar brought catapults with him in 55 BC and they projected stones about the size of grapefruits. Once you have a catapult you can hurl anything at your enemy. Roughly shaped stones were common, but so were dead and rotting animals and burning material (a good way of getting the thatch burning on a round house).

Over the years the Romans designed more complicated artillery and by the time Claudian returned to Britain in 43 AD he brought a bolt shooter or ballista. This fires arrow heads which did a lot of damage if it hit you.

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