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The remains of a sphero-conical ceramic vessel found in Jerusalem that researchers suspect was used as a hand grenade during the Crusades. (Image credit: Robert Mason, Royal Ontario Museum)

A fragmented ceramic container uncovered in Jerusalem may be an early version of a hand grenade that warriors used during the Crusades around 900 years ago, a new study suggests. 

Researchers studied fragments of jars  known as sphero-conical containers — small, rounded vessels with a pointed end and an opening at the top. The sphero-conical shape was a common design for vessels in the Middle East at the time, the researchers said in a statement. The containers were used for a wide range of purposes, including to hold oils, medicines and mercury, to drink beer from, and more.

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