Akko 1 shipwreck: The effect of cannon fire on the wooden hull

Y. Kahanov, J. B. Tresman, Y. Me-Bar, D. Cvikel, A. Hillman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Akko 1 shipwreck was discovered inside the harbour of the old walled city of Akko (Acre, St. Jean d'Acre, Akka), Israel. The ship's hull was built mainly of oak, with closely-set framing timbers that created a solid side. The shipwreck was apparently a result of the naval bombardment of the town in 1840.Reduced scale experiments of simulating the firing of cannonballs at a ship's side were conducted by Rafael (Advanced Defense Systems Ltd., Israel). The experimental set-up included a laboratory gun firing at wooden targets representing the side of a ship, and a monitoring high-speed camera system, measuring the entrance and exit velocities of projectiles. Scaling up the results of the tests showed that a 12-pdr cannonball could easily have penetrated the hull. The lower the impact velocity of the cannonball, the greater the damage caused to the ship's side, with a larger amount of splinters being generated. The minimum penetration velocity was about 150 m/s.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1993-2002
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The underwater excavations and research of the Akko 1 shipwreck were supported by Ron Marlar , the Yaacov Salomon Foundation, the late Reuven Sadnai—Coral Maritime Services Ltd. , the Halpern Foundation , a Sir Maurice Hatter Fellowship , the Hecht Trust , a Jewish National Fund Fellowship , the President, Rector, Dean and Faculty of Humanities , University of Haifa , and anonymous donors, to whom the authors are grateful.


  • 19th Century naval gunnery
  • Akko 1 shipwreck
  • Penetration velocity
  • Scaling down
  • Splinters

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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