Cannonballs were exact weapons of war

09/15/2009 - Mysterious lead hammers - who knows what they mean?

The mysterious finds can be viewed during the usual opening times. Those responsible for the museum also ask for your help in identifying these objects. The “hammers” are cast from lead and have a socket at the lower end that originally contained a wooden rod. With a hammer, the lead was poured around an iron rod in the shape of a lance.

As early as 1876, the Neuss-based archaeologist Constantin Koenen presented the three lead hammers for the first time, which had been found a few years earlier in Neuss on a meadow between the Obertor and the former upper monastery on Kölner Strasse while digging clay. Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, set up his headquarters there in 1474/75 when he besieged the city of Neuss in vain for almost a year. Koenen thought they were "battle hammers", that is, the weapons of the Burgundian besiegers. However, the objects are too fragile to be used as weapons of war. So far, such weapons are completely unknown. Even more than 130 years after their discovery, the exact function of the strange "lead hammers" has not been clarified. All the interpretations suggested so far have not been convincing. Are they boilermaker's tools, fence spikes or even crowns for the Burgundy tents?

Until recently, finds from the time of the Burgundian siege were repeatedly made in Neuss. At the end of the 19th century, numerous weapons and items of equipment belonging to the Burgundian soldiers were found while piercing clay on Kölner Strasse. A few years later, numerous cannon balls, lance tips, swords or helmets with damage from the fighting were found during the expansion of the Neuss harbor. In 2007 the Neusser Bodendenkmalpflege excavated part of the army camp of Charles the Bold on the site of the St. Josef Hospital.

Further information is available from the Clemens Sels Museum or from the email address [email protected]