Origins of Firepower

Partners and collaborators

Royal Armouries, Arms & Armour Research Institute, University of Huddersfield

Description

This project develops collaborations between the Institute for Medieval Studies (IMS), History and Philosophy of Science (HPS), and the Centre for Heritage Research (CHR) within the university, and the Royal Armouries in Leeds, the Arms & Armour Research Institute, University of Huddersfield, and other partners across the UK and beyond.

The project centres on the transitional development of gunnery, the birth of modern technically-trained experts in engineering, and wider 'revolutionary' developments in warfare and natural philosophy (science) in the period. Origins of Firepower seeks to expand a core area within the IMS's historic 'Fields of Conflict' research focus on the production and procurement of weapons, cannon, and scientific instruments, among other aims. 


The Origins of Firepower Project is a follow-on to two Fields of Conflict projects Conflict in the Pre-Industrial Landscape, completed in 2008 and 2010 with the concluding publication The Archaeology of English Battlefields: Conflict in the Pre-Industrial Landscape published by the Council for British Archaeology in 2012.

Context

The technical revolution of the late Middle Ages transformed warfare. By bringing together research in military history, archaeology, museum studies, and history of science and technology it is possible to enhance understanding of this formative period in pre-modern culture. Remaining questions in the field relating to performance of weaponry and characteristics of surviving artefacts can be addressed by applying approaches from the history of science and technology, modern engineering sciences, and the historical understanding of the period.

Landscape of war ground.

Institute Medieval Studies research project

The Origins of Firepower project will develop collaborations between the Institute for Medieval Studies (IMS), History and Philosophy of Science (HPS), and the Centre for Heritage Research (CHR) within the university, and the Royal Armouries in Leeds, the Arms & Armour Research Institute, University of Huddersfield, and other partners across the UK and beyond. The project centres on the transitional development of gunnery, the birth of modern technically-trained experts in engineering; and wider 'revolutionary' developments in warfare and natural philosophy (science) in the period. Origins of Firepower will expand a core area within the IMS's historic 'Fields of Conflict' research focus on the production and procurement of weapons, cannon, and scientific instruments; the function and status of these objects in war and conflict; and the training of and publications by and for military men as they relate to the actual performance of their gunpowder technologies.

(1) The conflicts
Land and Sea - the general state of war c. 1450-1650
Fields of Conflict in England - see map

(2) The equipment
Burn or Smash - on firearms munitions of the day
The guns
Links - relevant museums
Experimental firing
The munitions
The industry

(3) The men
Life of a Soldier and Gunner
The Soldier in Later Medieval England Project

(4) Research Project / Current Events
Experimental firings - see reports from The HO Group: Medieval Gunpowder Research
Feuerwerkbuch

Contact

To contact the Fields of Conflict project team at:

fields of conflict@leeds.ac.uk

Axel E. W. Müller
Institute for Medieval Studies 
Parkinson Building, Room 1.03 
University of Leeds 
LS2 9JT

24-hour Telephone : +44 (0)113 343 3614
Fax: +44 (0)113 343 3616