The Battle of the Egadi Islands was fought between the Roman and Carthaginian fleets, on March the 10th of 241 b.C.
On that day, more than 500 ships and 100.000 warriors clashed in a bloody struggle that is to be remembered as the biggest and most violent naval battle of all times. Dozens of warships sunk and thousands of warriors died. The final and decisive battle of a long war lasting 23 years, and that will be known as the First Punic War. The Roman victory signed the beginning of its irresistible expansion.
In 2010, after five years of research at sea, an equipe of archaeologists of the Soprintendenza del Mare of Sicily and researchers of RPM Nautical Foundation, lead by professor Sebastiano Tusa, located the area of the battle 8 kilometers off the shore of Levanzo island, signing one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of the century.
It is by means the first and only naval battle site of ancient times to have been discovered up to date.
The warships rams are probably the most extraordinary and representative artifacts found on the battle site area.
The rams were the main naval weapons for many centuries during the ancient times. They were positioned on the bow of the warships, at water level, and were used to ram and destroy the enemy vessels, causing its sinking. They were casted in bronze, directly on the bow of the warship.
Rams were also an iconic weapon, as they represented the symbol of the sea power, and that of the War at sea. These were often decorated with symbols and inscriptions and their three bladed shape, besides being a lethal weapon, took inspiration to Poseidon’s trident.
Before the investigations and discoveries of the Egadi battlefield, only one ram had been found in the entire world, in the waters of Athlit, in Israel. The Egadi battlefield up to now 2021 has led to the remarkable findings of 25 rams. Following their recovery the rams are subjected to a period of stabilization, restoration and study by the experts. They are often displayed in exhibitions in many countries of the world, while their residence is in the suggestive Ram’s Room at the Museum Stabilimento Florio in Favignana Island (Egadi arcipelago, Sicily).
GUE – SDSS joined the Research team in 2017 and since then operates as the diving component on the battle area, integrating the work conducted by RPM’s team with its sophisticated surface based electronic instruments.
During these years the role of divers proved to be a very precious contribution to the research effort, providing increased and major effectiveness on several tasks as well as opening new fronts of investigation with direct access to the sea floor and to its artifacts.