Metallurgical characterization of brass objects from the Akko 1 shipwreck, Israel

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Akko 1 shipwreck was a small Egyptian armed vessel or auxiliary naval brig built in the eastern Mediterranean at the beginning of the 19th century. During the underwater excavations, about 230 brass hook-and-eye closures were found, mainly in the bow area. In addition, 158 brass cases were found, mainly between midships and the aft extremity of the shipwreck. Metallurgical non-destructive and destructive characterizations of selected items were performed, including radiographic testing, XRF, lead isotope analysis, optical microscopy, SEM-EDS and microhardness tests. The hook-and-eye closures and the cases were both found to be made of binary copper-zinc alloy (about 30 wt.% zinc). While the brass cases were made from rolled sheets, hand-made using simple tools, and joined by tin-lead soldering material, the brass hook-and-eye closures were hand-made from drawn brass wire, and manufactured from commercial drawn brass bars by a cold-working process. The lead isotope analyses suggest different provenances of the raw materials used for making the brass objects, thus the different origins of the ores may hint that the brass wire and sheet were imported to the workshops in which the objects were manufactured.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-63
Number of pages15
JournalMaterials Characterization
StatePublished - Jun 2014

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
  • Brass artefacts
  • Drawing process
  • Microstructural characterization
  • Rolling process
  • Tin-lead solder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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