Hershel Shanks

MOUNTED ON CEDAR. Some of Israel’s best-known shipwrecks bear evidence of cedar ship construction. Clinging to the inside of a bronze ram discovered off the Mediterranean coast of Athlit (now known as the Athlit Ram) were preserved timber fragments of a second-century B.C.E. galley made of Cedrus libani. In the photo above, the Athlit Ram is displayed in front of a scale reconstruction of the galley. The cast bronze ram would have been attached to the prow just below the water line (seen at far left on the reconstruction), where it could inflict maximum damage on the hull of an enemy ship when hit at ramming speed.