The proposed research is a study of the Akko Tower Wreck, possibly the vessel scuttled by Commodore William Sidney Smith during the Royal Navy’s support of the Ottoman defenders of Akko against Napoleon Bonaparte in 1799. The shipwreck is apparently documented in a chart, discovered in the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, now in the British Library: no. 48950.
The Akko Tower Wreck lies at the entrance to Akko harbour in 4 m of water. Although over the last 45 years some of the most distinguished marine archaeologists have surveyed it, the shipwreck remains an enigma, as the striking discrepancies in their conclusions show. However, they all agreed on one thing – the shipwreck has great potential for shedding light on the British naval campaign against Bonaparte.
The proposed research project is a full-scale long-term underwater excavation of the Akko Tower Wreck, in the framework of interdisciplinary research that includes an in-depth study of the surviving original documents. Our main topics are:
- Identifying the ship, her type and flag, through a detailed study of the hull construction, structural elements and technical aspects, and a careful analysis of the finds.
- Exploring the maritime aspects of the 1799 naval campaign and analysing the contribution of the Royal Navy to the failure of Bonaparte’s siege of Akko.
This project has been awarded a four-year research grant by the Israel Science Foundation (Grant no. 447/12). This grant is effective from October 2012, and will cover about 50% of the underwater excavation costs and 75% of the research costs per year. Thus the funding received from the Honor Frost Foundation will make up part of the shortfall in the budget of the projectAkkoTowerwreck