Characterization of a 12-pdr wrought-iron cannonball from the Akko 1 shipwreck

D. Cvikel, D. Ashkenazi, A. Stern, Y. Kahanov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Akko 1 shipwreck, discovered in Akko harbor, Israel, is the remains of an eastern Mediterranean brig built at the beginning of the 19th century. Among other finds, eleven cannonballs were found in the shipwreck and three of them were retrieved. Two of the cannonballs, the 9- and 24-pdrs, have been studied previously. The present study of the 12-pdr cannonball included γ-rays radiographic testing, XRF analysis, density measurements, optical microscopy and SEM-EDS observation, OES analysis and microhardness tests. The investigation included characterization of the composition, microstructure and slag analysis. The results revealed a quite homogenous microstructure of α-ferrite phase, with glassy, wüstite and fayalite slags, as typical for a wrought-iron - annealed product, a more complicated and an earlier technology, compared to the 9- and 24-pdr that were made of cast-iron. Ferritic cannonballs are extremely rare, especially in the 19th century, when cannonballs were manufactured of cast iron by the sand casting process. The different manufacturing methods may indicate a different place of fabrication, and an apparently earlier production date for the 12-pdr, which might have even been used as ballast.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)198-211
Number of pages14
JournalMaterials Characterization
StatePublished - 2013

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.


  • Akko 1 shipwreck
  • Archaeometallurgy
  • Metallography
  • Wrought-iron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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