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Ancient Chinese soldiers packed a lot of firepower when they were guarding the Great Wall of China, according to Newsweek.
Archaeologists recently discovered a cache of 59 “stone grenades” in the ruins of a building along a section of the monument known as the Badaling Wall, which lies around 50 miles northwest of Beijing.
Researchers explained that explosives were found in what they believe to be a weapons warehouse.
“It is the first time that such a weapon storehouse has been found along the Great Wall,” Shang Heng, one of the archaeologists who was involved in the discovery, told Xinhua.
Even so, stone grenades are not a rare occurrence along the 13,170-mile-long Great Wall: In the past, archaeological teams have uncovered hundreds of them similar to those found in the Badaling section.
These ancient explosives were filled with gunpowder and used by soldiers to fend off nomadic invaders.
“After filling, they can be sealed and thrown out, which can not only hit the enemy but also cause an explosion to defeat the enemy,” Shang said.
Shang and his colleagues also found fire pits, cooking utensils and shovels, which can unveil intimate details about the guards’ activities back then and the wall’s defensive structures.
The Great Wall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is an extensive defensive fortification system stretching across northern China and southern Mongolia.
It comprises multiple walls built over two millennia to protect against nomadic groups. Its construction began in the seventh century BCE, but the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, connected these walls in the third century BCE.
During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), the most extensive and well-preserved sections – such as the Badaling wall – were built.