High-precision dating the Akko 1 shipwreck, Israel: Wiggle-matching the life and death of a ship into the historical record

Brita Lorentzen, Sturt W. Manning, Deborah Cvikel, Yaacov Kahanov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Akko 1 shipwreck is the remains of an eastern Mediterranean naval or auxiliary brig, which was found inside the ancient harbor of Akko, Israel. The shipwreck and finds were recorded underwater, and some of the ship components, along with the majority of the finds, were retrieved and analyzed. A Bayesian dating model, incorporating 14C wiggle-matching of the ship timbers, tree-ring analysis, and 14C dates from short-lived finds, is used to model the ship's construction and wrecking dates. These new data, combined with the results of archaeological research and available historical records, suggest that the ship was built during the first third of the 19th century as part of Muhammad Ali's fleet. Akko 1 then possibly plied the eastern Mediterranean under the Egyptian flag during the First Egyptian-Ottoman War in 1831-1833. The wrecking event apparently occurred during the 1840 naval bombardment of Akko. This is the first time that 14C wiggle-matching and Bayesian analyses have been used to date the construction and wrecking of a shipwreck in the southeastern Mediterranean. The results show that Bayesian analysis and 14C wiggle-matching techniques are valuable tools for analyzing the region's shipwrecks, including those from recent historical periods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)772-783
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
StatePublished - Jan 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Dendrochronological research at the Malcolm and Carolyn Wiener Laboratory for Aegean and Near Eastern Dendrochronology at Cornell University is supported by generous contributions by the Malcolm H. Wiener Foundation , the National Science Foundation , and numerous individual patrons of the Aegean Dendrochronology Project.

Funding Information:
The underwater excavation and research of the Akko 1 shipwreck were supported by Ron Marlar, the Yaacov Salomon Foundation , the Halpern Foundation, a Sir Maurice Hatter Fellowship , the Hecht Trust , the Jewish National Fund , anonymous donors, and the President, Rector, Dean and Faculty of Humanities, University of Haifa, to whom we are grateful.


  • Akko
  • Akko 1 shipwreck
  • Egyptian-Ottoman Wars
  • Historical archeology
  • Muhammad Ali Pasha
  • Radiocarbon
  • Wiggle-matching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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