Analysis of naturally etched surface of brass sheathing from a Nineteenth-Century shipwreck

D. Ashkenazi, A. Inberg, D. Cvikel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Akko Tower Wreck is ently the remains of a 25-m-long merchant brig, dated to the first half of the nineteenth century. During the 2015 underwater excavation, a piece of brass sheet was retrieved from the shipwreck and its surface and bulk were examined by metallurgical analyses. The examinations revealed a unique example of almost two hundred years' natural etching, which took place in the sea underwater environment. The surface of the sheet was covered with different copper and zinc oxides, which were identified by XRD analysis. Observation of the naturally etched surface with multi-focal light microscopy and SEM-EDS analysis indicated a microstructure of annealed ?- brass, similar to that of its bulk. S-OES chemical analysis of the bulk revealed a composition of 65.0 wt% Cu, 34.4 wt% Zn and 0.6 wt% Pb. Based on the thickness of the sheet and its good state of preservation, it is suggested that it was used as sheathing to protect the hull against marine organisms, and to improve the sailing qualities of the ship. The results provide further information about the Akko Tower shipwreck; and expand our knowledge regarding the corrosion processes and preservation of brass during a long burial period in marine environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-110
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Mining and Metallurgy, Section B: Metallurgy
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The underwater excavations (IAA permits G-23/2012, G-78/2013, G-16/2015 and G-25/2016) and research of the Akko Tower Wreck are supported by the Israel Science Foundation (Grant no. 447/12), the Honor Frost Foundation, and the Rector and the Research Authority, University of Haifa, to all of whom the authors are grateful.


  • Akko tower wreck
  • Brass sheet
  • Corrosion
  • Metallography
  • Metallurgy
  • Naturally etched surface

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Metals and Alloys
  • Materials Chemistry


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