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Ancient shipwreck points to major Roman battle

The remains of a sunken Roman warship have been found in the Mediterranean Sea, possibly confirming the site of a major battle where Rome defeated Carthage.

The shipwreck was found near the island of Levanzo, west of Sicily, which is where historical documents place the battle.

In the summer of 2010, Royal and his colleagues discovered a warship’s bronze ram – the sharp, prolonged tip of the ship’s bow that was used to slam into an enemy vessel. This tactic was heavily used in ancient naval battles and was thought to have played an important role in the Punic fights.

The ram is all that’s left of the warship; the rest, made of wood, apparently rotted away.

“There’s never been an ancient warship found – that’s the holy grail of maritime archaeology,” Royal told LiveScience. “The most we have are the rams and part of the bow structure.”

Yet a ram alone can reveal intriguing clues about what these archaic vessels were like.

“The ram itself gives you a good idea of how the timbers were situated, how large they were, how they came together,” Royal explained.

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