(JNS.org) A research study conducted at Tel Aviv University indicates that three centuries-old bronze cannons discovered off the coast of Megadim in northern Israel may have been the private property of merchants, rather than belonging to a naval force.
According to a research report published in the August edition of the Journal of Archaeological Science, the cannons were likely part of a weapons cache belonging to sailor merchants, whose ship wrecked off the coast of Haifa in the late 16th century or early 17th century, during what is known as the “Age of the Sail” from 1571–1862.
The researchers’ conclusions are based on the first-ever chemical analysis of Venetian bronze cannons from the 16th century, and serve as a basis for future surveys of similar cannons.
The three cannons were initially discovered in 1972, and two were brought ashore for further analysis. In 2013, the third cannon was retrieved. The first two cannons are classified as “sakers,” measuring around 11.5 feet long, and the third cannon is a “falcon,” measuring nine feet long.
According to research conducted by a team led by Dr. Dana Ashkenazi at Tel Aviv University’s School of Mechanical Engineering, the cannons did not belong to the Venetian navy, an enemy of the Holy Land’s ruling Ottoman Empire at the time, but were more likely “private ship-owner’s property.”
Further, according to the researchers, the cannons did not originate in Israel and “may have originated in a southern European country that had contact with Venice, Naples, and Ragusa (Dubrovnik).”