Research on Capitol Hill

Presenter and Co-Presenter(s)

Daniel Bertrand, Utah State UniversityFollow


College of Humanities and Social Sciences


History Department

Faculty Mentor

Susan Cogan


In the Middle Ages, armies built trebuchets to destroy enemy castles. The trebuchet is a type of catapult that uses a falling counterweight to throw projectiles.

Many trebuchets were huge machines over 60 feet tall and their construction was complex. The methods used to erect a trebuchet in history are not widely known.

My Research Question: How were trebuchets designed and assembled in the Middle Ages?

Through experimental history, I used primary sources to design a trebuchet. This machine is half-scale: 30 feet tall.

I built this trebuchet with medieval techniques, assembled it with an ancient type of crane hoist, and tested it with up to 1,500lb of counterweight.

Document Type


Publication Date


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History Commons



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