The Temporary Exhibition of the Mechanism and the Antikythera shipwreck...>>

Bronze spikes

Material: Copper alloy
Provenance: Antikythera shipwreck. From the material retrieved in 1976
Date: 220 B.C. (43)
Length X 19003: 0.34 m., X 19005: 0.295 m., X 19007: 0.448 m., X 19007: 0.373 m., X 19007: 0.33 m., X 19007: 0.345 m.
Inv. no: Athens, National Archaeological Museum X 19003, X 19005, X 19007-
Room:Temporary Exhibitions Wing, Room I

Forged spikes of copper-alloy from the hull of the Antikythera wreck. The metal has suffered extensive corrosion. Their shafts are twisted, probably from violent detachment of the once-joined parts. The spikes have rounded heads and their shafts are square in section, tapering to a more circular section towards their ends. Below the head, the edges (corners) of the shaft are rounded off.

The use of the tetrahedral forged spike is already known in the naval architecture of the Classical period. The advantages of its shape include the ease with which it could be driven home, and its firm grasp once there within the wood along the full length of the shaft (from the progressive narrowing of the same), as well as lack of play, resistance against corrosion and great resistance to lateral tensions (pressures). Their original position within the structure is unknown. Similar spikes are used to fix the frames to the planking. The fact however that the shafts have not been clenched, which would be expected in the case of their use with frames and planking, in correlation with theirextended length and again with the way they curve along some two thirds of their surviving portions, all seem to indicate that they would have been used in the lower part of the hull, plausibly at the keel or the mast-step.

Bibliography: . altsas - . Vlachogianni - P. Bouyia(eds.), The Antikythera shipwreck. he ship - the treasures - the mechanism, Catalogue of the archaeological exhibition, National Archaeological Museum, April 2012 - April 2013, Athens 2012, 43 no. 4 (G. Koutsouflakis).

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