By Tanel Saimre
Estonian Journal of Archaeology, Vol.10:1 (2006)
Abstract: The most powerful weapons in the Middle Ages were catapults, the latest and technically most advanced type of which were counterweight-operated trebuchets. This article deals with their mechanics and describes some experimental reconstructions of such siege engines. In Estonia the interest in trebuchets is augmented by the fact that such engines were used here repeatedly at the beginning of the 13th century, during the German-Danish conquest, and thereafter. The author built an experimental reconstruction of a trebuchet and carried out experiments on the Otepää hillfort, which resulted in some new knowledge about this type of siege engines enabling us to better interpret the information available in historical sources.