Ancient Cannons or Ball Mills or Cement Kilns?

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Guarding over the Dardanelles for about 400 years, the famed Ottoman super cannon is arguably one of the most important guns in history. Like Darth Vader’s Death Star, the Dardanelles gun imposed the overbearing, threatening presence that tacitly boasted of imperial grandeur of which pop-culture villains could only dream. This pass was assuredly Ottoman. Its predecessor would break down the walls to an empire that had continued since Augustus Caesar and it – itself – would deter another up-and-coming empire almost half a millennium later.

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The paragraph preceding the above two images was taken from the article titled Ottoman Super Cannon: The bombard that built an empire. It was written by some Marwan Kamel from Historyanswers.co.uk. And it's articles like this, that form public opinion. These articles piggyback on each other, and supported by Wikipedia, misrepresent the facts. I'm not saying they necessarily do it on purpose, for the powers of the mainstream run strong even within the most honest of the people.

Industrial Equipment
The goal of this article is to suggest a hypothesis that some of the ancient so-called cannons are being grossly misrepresented. I think we have a mix of real cannons with the ones which are not cannons at all. Their visual resemblance allowed the masters of the narrative to pass ancient industrial equipment for cannons. And who knows, may be this visual resemblance saved those "cannons" from being destroyed.

The Dardanelles Gun
The Dardanelles Gun or Great Turkish Bombard is a 15th-century siege cannon, specifically a super-sized bombard, which saw action in the 1807 Dardanelles Operation. It was designed and built in 1464 by Turkish military engineer Munir Ali.

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The Dardanelles Gun was cast in bronze in 1464 by Munir Ali:
  • Material: bronze
  • Weight: 37,000 pounds or 16.8 metric tons
  • Length: 17 feet or 5.18 meters
  • Projectile 1453: stone balls of 2.07 feet or 24.8 inches or 0.63 meters in diameter
  • Projectile 1807: full iron, same measurements. 2,265 pounds or 1027.5 kilograms
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The powder chamber and the barrel are connected by the way of a screw mechanism, allowing easier transport of the unwieldy device. Such super-sized bombards had been employed in Western European siege warfare since the beginning of the 15th century. According to Schmidtchen, they were introduced to the Ottoman army in 1453 by the gun founder Orban on the occasion of the Siege of Constantinople, and Ali's piece is assumed to have followed the outline of these guns closely. According to Paul Hammer, however, the technology could have been introduced from other Islamic countries which had earlier used cannons.
  • Orban (also known as Urban) is an alleged Hungarian or German weapons-smith, who many European historians are quick to point out and claim, is allegedly the designer of all of the Great Turkish bombards. However, such claims are problematic, in that, hardly anything is known of his life, and after 1453 any record of him vanishes from history. Indeed all of the information on Orban also comes from a single non-Ottoman based source; Kritoboulos of Imbros, who wrote about him in his book "History" (1467) - however he is known to have been an unreliable historian, since he never verified his sources and nor does he use correct names for people. The Ottomans also make no special mention (or indeed any mention) of him in their history. Another particular problem with this theory is that Orban was known to sign his creations when he cast them, but many of them simply don't exist; which is very unusual given how the Ottoman's kept and conserved many of their other historical cannons of this time period in pristine condition. Munir Ali, for example designed (likely independently) his own bombard, the "Dardanelles Gun" in 1464, which has survived for over 554 years. Other European authors have suggested Munir Ali and Orban may actually be the one and the same person, given how similar in design Ali's and Orban's guns were; and given how Orban's records vanish around this time, only to be replaced with Munir Ali (who may actually be Orban after he converted to Islam).
Along with other huge cannons, the Dardanelles Gun was still present for duty more than 340 years later in 1807, when a Royal Navy force appeared and commenced the Dardanelles Operation. Turkish forces loaded the ancient relics with propellant and projectiles, then fired them at the British ships. The British squadron suffered 28 casualties from this bombardment. A spheric round made of full iron, of 63 centimeters of diameter, has a weight of 1027.5 kilograms.

In 1866, on the occasion of a state visit, Sultan Abdülâziz gave the Dardanelles Gun to Queen Victoria as a present. It became part of the Royal Armouries collection and was displayed to visitors at the Tower of London and was later moved to Fort Nelson, Hampshire, overlooking Portsmouth.

Weight and Cannon Balls
Before we go any further, I wanted to address the weight issue, and the claim of this cannons using stone balls for projectiles. We all have our general understanding of the capabilities of the 15th, 16th centuries as they pertain to the dogmatic narrative. We understand that these cannons, and cannon balls were moved "somehow". Indeed, somehow is sufficient for the contemporary history. We do not care how it was dome as long as it was done somehow. What's there to argue?

Here is how the Tsar Cannon, and replica cannon balls were being moved in the 20th century. We did not know how to move them using the "somehow" approach, so we simply chose heavy machinery to accomplish the task.

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WW-I and WW-II huge cannons of comparable size and weight were getting transported using special platforms, and often utilizing the convenience of rail roads.

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WWI Big Bertha Howitzer

Stone Cannon Balls
Loading a two foot in diameter stone cannon ball in the 15th century was done "somehow". Once again, we do not care how, they did it and it's all that matters.

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World War I and II "Big Bertha" type rounds were transported and loaded using special mechanisms. In the 15th century the same was accomplished "somehow".

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Let us think about the process of making these bad boys in the 15th century. If you google for stone cannon balls, you will find many uneven and some with signs of those stone cannon balls made out of some composite materials. But according to the narrative, no polymer type material existed, and even the uneven cannon balls were used for firing.

So, how much time would it take to produce one of the below cannon balls using methods attributed by the conventional historians to the 15th century? Obviously that would depend on the material used but the below ones do not look like limestone. With granite we are not talking about men hours, it's more like men weeks, and men months.
  • What prevented the cannon creators from making cannon balls using the same bronze they used to produce the cannons?
  • What if these cannons did not need any cannon balls for their originally intended purpose?
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Other "Cannons"
1411 - Faule Mette

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The Faule Mette was a medieval supergun of the city of Brunswick, Germany. Cast by the gunfounder Henning Bussenschutte on the central market square Kohlmarkt in 1411, it was fitted with a conically tapered muzzle which allowed the use of projectiles of varying size. Info:
  • Material: bronze
  • Weight: 19,290 pounds or 8.75 tons
  • Caliber: 0.67 - 0.7 meters or 2.198 - 2.296 feet
  • Projectile: stone ball - 710 to 933 pounds, or 322 to 423 kilograms
  • Gunpowder load: 53 to 73 pounds, or 24 to 33 kilograms
  • Range: 8,012 feet or 2,442 meters
The cast-bronze cannon was melted down in 1787 and recast to several lighter field guns, having fired only twelve times in its history. That is once every 31.3 years, on average.

1449 - Mons Meg
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Mons Meg is a medieval bombard. It was built in 1449 on the orders of Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy and sent by him as a gift to James II, King of Scots in 1454. The bombard was employed in sieges until the middle of the 16th century, after which it was only fired on ceremonial occasions. On one such occasion in 1680 the barrel burst, rendering Mons Meg unusable. The gun remained in Edinburgh Castle until 1754 when, along with other unused weapons in Scotland, it was taken to the Tower of London. Sir Walter Scott and others campaigned for its return, which was effected in 1829. Mons Meg has since been restored, and is now on display within the castle. Mons Meg has a barrel diameter of 20 inches making it one of the largest cannons in the world by calibre.
  • Material: wrought-iron
  • Weight: 14,550 pounds or 6.6 tons
  • Caliber: 0.508 or 2.198 - 1.67 feet
  • Projectile: stone ball - 710 to 933 pounds, or 322 to 423 kilograms
  • Gunpowder load: 53 to 73 pounds, or 24 to 33 kilograms
  • Range: 8,012 feet or 2,442 meters
  • Sister cannon: 16.4 tons Dulle Griet
1586 - Tsar Cannon
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The Tsar Cannon is a large early modern period artillery piece on display on the grounds of the Moscow Kremlin. It is a monument of Russian artillery casting art, cast in bronze in 1586 in Moscow, by the Russian master bronze caster Andrey Chokhov. Mostly of symbolic impact, it was never used in a war. However, the cannon bears traces of at least one firing. Per the Guinness Book of Records it is the largest bombard by caliber in the world, and it is a major tourist attraction in the ensemble of the Moscow Kremlin.
  • Material: bronze
  • Weight: 86,641 pounds or 39.3 tons
  • Caliber: 1.66 feet or 0.508 meters
  • Projectile: never been fired
  • Gunpowder load: unknown
  • Range: unknown
KD note: Above four cannons are just an example. This wiki link has a few additional ones. In reality there are way more similar type cannons which are easily googlable.

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Bronze cast Ottoman bombard – Cast in the 15th–16th century – Fired shots of 1,000 lbs.jpg


Firing these Cannons
Obviously, its hard to find any data pertaining to what happens when one of these cannons gets loaded with 70 pounds of gun powder, and attempt to push out a 900 pound stone ball. Chances are, the below image is a good indicator of the consequences.

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Thickness Matters?
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Caliber vs. Thickness
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Egypt, Ancient Rome and Gears
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Wiki says, "A gear is a rotating machine part having cut teeth, or in the case of a cogwheel, inserted teeth (called cogs), which mesh with another toothed part to transmit torque. Geared devices can change the speed, torque, and direction of a power source. Gears almost always produce a change in torque, creating a mechanical advantage, through their gear ratio, and thus may be considered a simple machine. The teeth on the two meshing gears all have the same shape. Two or more meshing gears, working in a sequence, are called a gear train or a transmission. A gear can mesh with a linear toothed part, called a rack, producing translation instead of rotation."

Egyptian Museum in Cairo
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The above image was taken out of the below video. According to the gentleman narrating the video, the material these gears are made out of is unknown. And the gears themselves are located at the Museum of Ancient Egypt in Cairo.


Ancient Roman Gears
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Source, "This set of items consists of a genuine, not a reproduction Roman brooch that is about 1700 years old. It was obtained from a collector in United Kingdom who specializes in Roman artifacts. This cog, gear looking brooch was a symbol of Sun. When the brooch was discovered, it was missing the pin. Probably that was how the brooch was lost originally."

Gears and Cannons
Well, you've probably guessed it by now. I do think that some of the cannons were not canons at all. Could it be that they were meant to rotate?

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What Were They?
Mineral Crushing Ball Mills?
Remember all those building built out of blocks, which allegedly had to travel tens, or hundreds of miles. Consider the Pyramids. What if those were indeed produced using artificial marble, granite and what not? Things had to get grinded somehow. Why not like this?

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A ball mill is a type of grinder used to grind and blend materials for use in mineral dressing processes, paints, pyrotechnics, ceramics and selective laser sintering. It works on the principle of impact and attrition: size reduction is done by impact as the balls drop from near the top of the shell.
  • A ball mill consists of a hollow cylindrical shell rotating about its axis. The axis of the shell may be either horizontal or at a small angle to the horizontal. It is partially filled with balls. The grinding media is the balls, which may be made of steel, stainless steel, ceramic, or rubber. The inner surface of the cylindrical shell is usually lined with an abrasion-resistant material such as manganese steel or rubber. Less wear takes place in rubber lined mills. The length of the mill is approximately equal to its diameter.
  • The general idea behind the ball mill is an ancient one, but it was not until the industrial revolution and the invention of steam power that an effective ball milling machine could be built. It is reported to have been used for grinding flint for pottery in 1870.
Info: Ball mill - Wikipedia

Canon Balls aka Round Shots
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A round shot (or solid shot, or a cannonball, or simply ball) is a solid projectile without explosive charge, fired from a cannon. As the name implies, a round shot is spherical; its diameter is slightly less than the bore of the gun from which it is fired. The cast iron cannonball was introduced by French artillery engineers after 1450 where it had the capacity to reduce traditional English castle wall fortifications to rubble. French armories would cast a tubular cannon body in a single piece and cannonballs took the shape of a sphere initially made from stone material. Advances in gunpowder manufacturing soon led the replacement of stone cannonballs with cast iron ones.

Grinding Balls
Grinding media, the objects used to refine material and reduce particle size, are available in a wide range of shapes, sizes and materials to meet an equally wide range of grinding and milling needs.

Grinding balls for grinding copper ore in a ball mill
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Additional Grinding Balls
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Grinding Balls

Cement Kilns
Cement kilns are used for the pyroprocessing stage of manufacture of Portland and other types of hydraulic cement, in which calcium carbonate reacts with silica-bearing minerals to form a mixture of calcium silicates. Over a billion tonnes of cement are made per year, and cement kilns are the heart of this production process: their capacity usually defines the capacity of the cement plant. As the main energy-consuming and greenhouse-gas–emitting stage of cement manufacture, improvement of kiln efficiency has been the central concern of cement manufacturing technology.


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Concrete Mixers
A concrete mixer is a device that homogeneously combines cement, aggregate such as sand or gravel, and water to form concrete. A typical concrete mixer uses a revolving drum to mix the components. For smaller volume works, portable concrete mixers are often used so that the concrete can be made at the construction site, giving the workers ample time to use the concrete before it hardens. An alternative to a machine is mixing concrete by hand. This is usually done in a wheelbarrow; however, several companies have recently begun to sell modified tarps for this purpose.
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KD Summary: The above is just a hypothesis, but whatever those "cannons" were, I doubt they were cannons. I think what we have is a mix of actual cannons with industrial devices. Some of the "cannons" could originally be... well, some other things. IMHO.

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There are plenty of other cannons out there with weird designs. What they were really used for, remains to be determined. We are being told that those were just cannons, but were they?

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Obviously I could be way off, and Project Babylon has way more merit than we think, or they are just cannons.
Sources and useful links:
 

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