Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New secrets from 'Bay of the Pirates' warship that sunk 2,300 years ago

Date:
June 6, 2012
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
A new study puts some finishing touches on the 2,300-year history of the beak-like weapon that an ancient warship used to ram enemy ships in the First Punic War, the conflict between ancient Rome and Carthage. The report also identifies a major threat that conservators must address in preserving this archaeological treasure for future generations.

A new study puts some finishing touches on the 2,300-year history of the beak-like weapon that an ancient warship used to ram enemy ships in the First Punic War, the conflict between ancient Rome and Carthage. The report, in ACS' journal Analytical Chemistry, also identifies a major threat that conservators must address in preserving this archaeological treasure for future generations.

Patrick Frank and colleagues explain that the ram, called a rostrum, was found in 2008 under 22 feet of water, 150 feet offshore from Acqualadrone (which means "Bay of the Pirates") in northeastern Sicily. The Acqualadrone rostrum is bronze, with a wooden core that was preserved because of burial beneath the seafloor. Carbon-14 dating suggests that the warship sank around 260 B.C. after being damaged in the battle of Mylae during the opening stages of the First Punic War, which may have been among the largest wars of its time. Earlier research localized the metals in the bronze to mines in Spain or Cyprus. The authors, from the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory at Stanford University and the University of Palermo, set out in the new research to learn more about the origin and condition of the rostrum wood.

Their analysis of the acids and other substances in the wood showed that the strutwork of the Acqualadrone rostrum was pine, waterproofed with pine tar. Other woods, like juniper and oak, and other ancient marine sealants, like beeswax, were ruled out. Importantly, the research found copious sulfur in the wood that could turn into sulfuric acid, an extremely corrosive substance. Sulfuric acid is known to appear in recovered wooden marine archaeological treasures and can threaten their existence. The authors argue that iron and copper permeating the wood may catalyze that transformation, but they suggest that removing ozone from museum air could slow the conversion.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Patrick Frank, Francesco Caruso, Eugenio Caponetti. Ancient Wood of the Acqualadrone Rostrum: Materials History through Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry and Sulfur X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy. Analytical Chemistry, 2012; 84 (10): 4419 DOI: 10.1021/ac3001258

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "New secrets from 'Bay of the Pirates' warship that sunk 2,300 years ago." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120606132414.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2012, June 6). New secrets from 'Bay of the Pirates' warship that sunk 2,300 years ago. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120606132414.htm
American Chemical Society. "New secrets from 'Bay of the Pirates' warship that sunk 2,300 years ago." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120606132414.htm (accessed April 24, 2014).

Share This



More Fossils & Ruins News

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mich. Boy Unearths 10,000-Year-Old Mastodon Tooth

Mich. Boy Unearths 10,000-Year-Old Mastodon Tooth

Newsy (Apr. 20, 2014) — A 9-year-old Michigan boy was exploring a creek when he came across a 10,000-year-old tooth from a prehistoric mastodon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Couple Finds Love Letters From WWI In Attic

Couple Finds Love Letters From WWI In Attic

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) — A couple found love letters from World War I in their attic. They were able to deliver them to relatives of the writer of those letters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Erotic Art Offers Glimpse of China's 'lost' Sexual Philosophy

Erotic Art Offers Glimpse of China's 'lost' Sexual Philosophy

AFP (Apr. 16, 2014) — Explicit Chinese art works dating back centuries go on display in Hong Kong, revealing China's ancient relationship with sex. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
French Historians Fight to Save Iconic La Samaritaine Buildings

French Historians Fight to Save Iconic La Samaritaine Buildings

AFP (Apr. 15, 2014) — Parisians and local historians are fighting to save one of the French capital's iconic buildings, the La Samaritaine department store. Duration: 01:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins