A Group of Exceptionally Heavy Ancient Sounding Leads: New Data Concerning Deep-water Navigation in the Roman Mediterranean

By Ehud Galili, John Peter Oleson and Baruch Rosen, published May 2010

Abstract

Eight ancient and heavy sounding leads, seven from off the Israeli coast and one from Tunisian waters are considered in terms of what they tell us of early navigation. The leads were collected from wreck sites and weigh between 14.9 and 20.65 kgs. They date from the second century BC to the sixth century AD. They contain chambers for tallow used to collect samples of the sea bed to aid navigation. The authors suggest the heavy weights were designed for rapid descent in deep waters and for sample gathering in shallow or inshore waters.

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Filed under: Antiquity | Mediterranean
Subjects include: Archaeology | Ship Handling & Seamanship

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