On the proportions of Bronze Age, one-hole, stone, weight anchors from the eastern Mediterranean

Yoav Me-Bar, Deborah Cvikel, Ayelet Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many one-hole stone anchors have been found around the eastern Mediterranean, in Kaş (Uluburun, Gelidonia), Antalya, Ugarit, Byblos, Kition, the Carmel coast, Caesarea, Ashkelon, Alexandria, etc. They are of varying sizes, weighing from a few to hundreds of kilograms. Apart from the single hole, they have another common attribute – they all fell within a certain range of geometrical proportions, one of which was the length to thickness ratio of about 4.2:1. The hole in the upper part of such an anchor increases the susceptibility of the anchor to mechanical failure. Sensitivity to three major modes of failure – tension, shear and bending, was analysed. It was found most broken anchors seem to have failed by bending. Such failure could be incurred either during service life on a ship or in secondary use on land. It was also found that for three-hole composite anchors, the average length to thickness ratio was about 5.5:1, meaning that for a given face area they were relatively thinner and lighter. In addition, they were smaller in face area, and thus had about 25%–50% greater holding power, and posed less handling risk to ship and crew than the one-hole type.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103217
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
StatePublished - Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd


  • Bending stress
  • Bronze Age
  • Dimensions
  • Mechanical failure
  • Proportions
  • Shear
  • Stone anchors
  • Tensile

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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