Research

Part of 2,200-year-old ship found sunk in largest naval battle in history

In March 241 BC, at the Aegadianislands near Sicily, one of the largest naval battles in human history took place. It became an important part of the First Punic War, which arose between Ancient Rome and Carthage, a Phoenician state based in northern Africa. From both warring sides, 200 armed ships took part in the battle. As a result of the battle, the Roman soldiers won the victory - they sank from 20 to 50 Carthaginian ships, and the rest were captured together with the crews. Some of the enemy ships managed to escape. In 2017, scientists managed to find an important part of one of the Carthaginian ships - a weapon with which you can ram enemy ships and sink them. Having studied the detail of the ship that sank over a century ago, scientists have found a lot of interesting things.

Part of a Carthaginian ship found in Italy

Interesting fact: army of Carthage, for the most part, consisted ofmercenaries. The infantry consisted of Spanish, African, Greek and Gaulish mercenaries. The cavalry was predominantly composed of Numidians, who were considered some of the finest horsemen. If necessary, the Carthaginians could hire a fleet of quinquerems with sophisticated weapons and an experienced crew. But despite all this, in the above-mentioned battle, Carthage was defeated.

Battering ram of an ancient ship

The ram of an ancient ship was found by researchersfrom the Italian organization Istituto Centrale per il Restauro (ICR) and divers from Global Underwater Explorers in 2017. The ram, which was once installed on a Carthaginian galley, lay at a depth of 90 meters. A couple of years later, he was given the symbol "Egadi 13". The remains of the ram are a hollow bronze object with an engraved inscription - it is written in the already extinct Punic language, which was spoken thousands of years ago by the inhabitants of North Africa and several islands of the Mediterranean Sea. The ram is 90 centimeters long and weighs 170 kilograms.

Battering ram found in the waters off the Aegat Islands

Exploring sunken ships

Since the ram has a hollow interior,During the restoration of its original appearance, the researchers discovered various sediments and a huge number of marine animals on its inner and outer parts. For all the time it was under water, the sunken structure turned into a home for mollusks, crustaceans and other representatives of the animal world.

The process of studying the found ram

The very fact that the details of the sunkenanimals settled on the ship, no surprise. However, according to one of the authors of the scientific work Sandra Ricci (Sandra Ricci), they have never had the opportunity to study for the presence of marine organisms structures that were under water more than a century ago. As part of the restoration, all marine animals and other sediments were collected and carefully studied.

The place where the ram was found

See also: A ship from the time of Christopher Columbus was found at the bottom of the Baltic Sea

What animals live in sunken ships?

It turned out that inside the ancient object accumulatedat least 114 living invertebrate species. More specifically, we are talking about 33 species of gastropods, 25 species of bivalve molluscs, 33 species of polychaete worms and 23 species of bryozoans. Another researcher, Edoardo Casoli of La Sapienza University of Italy, says polychaetes and several species of bivalve molluscs play a major role in this community. With the help of their valves and tubes, they attached themselves to the surface of the ram. The rest of the organisms, like bryozoans, served as connecting links - they created bridges between the formations created by the already mentioned polychaetes and molluscs.

Deposits on the surface of the ram

The researchers noted that younger shipsbecome home to a much smaller variety of marine organisms. And this is great news for the scientific community, because ancient ships can be used as a kind of "ecological storage" from which to collect samples of large numbers of marine animals. Perhaps if scientists manage to find other parts of the Carthaginian ship, they will make even more interesting discoveries.

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Sunken ships are a fairly common find.scientists. But they are rarely that old. If you are interested, you can read about the ancient ship that was found in the sunken city of Heraklion. Here is the link.