Ancient Roman battle survey

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Photo: Only three ancient bronze battle rams had been discovered globally before this survey began Photo: Jon Henderson

The Battle of the Egadi Islands is said to be the first ancient naval battle underwater archaeological site ever discovered  - it’s now being surveyed in minute detail by an underwater archaeologist from the UK’s University of Nottingham.

Working at depths of between 40 to 120 metres, Dr Jon Henderson is surveying an area which currently stands at some five square kilometres. It’s littered by well preserved bronze helmets, amphora, weapons and most importantly ancient bronze battle rams. Only three ancient bronze battle rams had been discovered globally before this survey began.

He said: “What makes this project so exciting is that this was an important engagement between the Romans and the Carthaginians which ultimately provided the Romans with a springboard to go on and take over the whole of the Mediterranean.”

Dr Henderson is using sector-scanner technology developed for the marine offshore industry to map the site in even more detail. The technology he has introduced to the world of underwater archaeology can survey an area of up to 50 to 60 metres across in minute detail.

The Egadi battle between the Romans and the Carthaginians took place on 10 March 241BC off the coast of Sicily. It put an end to the First Punic War and set the Roman Republic on its militaristic path to becoming an Empire.