Ramming home truths

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Discovered by British divers off the coast of Tobruk, Libya, in 1964, the Belgammel Ram would have been fixed to the upper bow of a small Greek or Roman warship to break enemy oars. Now extensive tests, led by Dr Nic Flemming of the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton, have revealed a wealth of new information about the artefact. Radiocarbon analysis of burnt wood found inside the ram suggest a date of between 100 BC and AD 100, the team write in the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, and as concentrations of tin, lead, and copper in the bronze vary throughout the ram, it was probably cast in one piece and cooled as a single object.

This article is an extract from the full article published in World Archaeology Issue 59. Click here to subscribe

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