Akko tower ship wreck probably dates to the nineteenth century and is not connected to Napoleon
The Akko Tower Wreck has been playing tricks with researchers for over 50 years. The shipwreck was discovered during the first maritime archaeological survey conducted in Israel using remote sensing technology, in 1966, and bears the distinction of being the first shipwreck identified off the coast of Israel. But the shipwreck is also unique in another respect: to date, researchers have been unable to agree on its identity, and as time passed the mystery only seemed to become more opaque.
|Maayan Cohen with a nail from the ship wreck [Credit: University of Haifa]|
However, throughout this period the researchers had no firm scientific evidence supporting any particular hypothesis. This situation has now changed following a new study published in Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences. The study uncovered the first scientific evidence from the shipwreck.
More than a hundred brass nails were found in the ship, most of them still embedded in the wooden hull components, while others were scattered inside the vessel. Two different types of nails were found, with lengths of approximately 10 centimeters and 6.5 centimeters, respectively. Both types of nails underwent a series of tests that would not have been out of place in a forensic criminal investigation: Measurement of the density of the brass; fluorescent spectroscopic examinations using x-rays (XRF) examining their chemical composition; optical inspection using a light microscope and a scanning electron microscope to determine the quality of the metal casting and the microstructure and structure of various parts of the nails; examination of the rigidity of the material; lead isotope analysis, and so forth. In the final test, the researchers took two brass nails from the ship and two modern steel nails and hammered them in order to examine who each nail penetrated different pieces of wood.
The long series of studies revealed numerous details. The microstructure of the nails and the presence of silicon revealed that they had been manufactured using the sand casting method. The researchers found a high proportion of zinc and other substances in the alloy. The composition and rigidity of the nails illuminated the manufacturing process, while the isotope analysis identified the most probable location in which they were made. Drawing together all their findings, the researchers formed the following conclusion: The nails were manufactured in the first half of the nineteenth century, probably at a European foundry using raw materials from Britain. "In light of the research findings, we now believe that this is a European merchant vessel that sunk off the coasts of Akko at some time during the first half of the nineteenth century," the researchers concluded.
Source: University of Haifa [November 04, 2016]