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Keywords:

  • ROSTRUM;
  • NAVAL RAM;
  • ARCHAEOLOGICAL WOOD;
  • ARCHAEOLOGICAL BRONZE;
  • ACQUALADRONE

The archaeological discovery of the Acqualadrone rostrum (an offensive naval weapon mounted on the prow at the waterline), off the Italian coast near Messina in 2008, has led to the need for scientific research in order to plan the conservation treatment of this artefact. The discovery is exceptional because of the presence of a wooden section from the original ship. This paper describes the physico-chemical characterization of a metallic and two wooden samples by inductively coupled plasma – optical emission spectroscopy, inductively coupled plasma – mass spectrometry, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, 13C {1H} cross-polarization magic angle spinning NMR spectroscopy, energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, gas chromatography – mass spectrometry and X-ray diffraction. The results reveal the use of leaded bronze (Cu, 70%; Pb, 20%; Sn, 10%) in the manufacturing process of the alloy and the use of lead whose isotopic composition is referable to either Spanish or Cypriot mines. The analysis of the results relating to the wooden samples indicates their different state of preservation and, at least in some places, the spreading of caulking on the wood, probably using a vegetable resin.