Belgammel Ram

A Hellenistic-Roman bronze proembolion found off the coast of Libya: Test analysis of function, date, and metallurgy, with a digital reference archive

The Belgammel Ram is probably a Hellenistic-Roman proembolion, or upper ram, from a small military vessel or tesseraria.  Dating of the ram itself is uncertain but appears to be in the last two centuries BC, or a bit later, on the basis of C14 and archaeological comparisons.

The Belgammel Ram was studied using the following techniques:

For surface examination:

  • Surface non-contact digitising using a laser scanner
  • Reflectance Transformation Imaging using polynomial texture mapping and hemi-spherical harmonics
  • Digital photogrammetry with dense surface modelling
  • Structured light optical scanning
  • X-ray fluorescence analysis.

For the internal structure:

  • The Ram was examined by X-radiography and 3-D X-ray tomography, and other techniques

Surface Analysis of the Belgammel Ram

A series of complementary techniques was employed in order to provide as rich an archive as possible in order to facilitate future research. The techniques used were:

  • Laser scanning using a Konica Minolta 910 non-contact digitiser, producing 307,000 sample points per scan.
  • Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) to capture surface morphology.
  • Digital Photogrammetry-Dense Surface Modelling, using a Nikon D300 with high resolution of 4000 x 3000 pixels and PhotoModeler Scanner.
  • 3-D Optical White Light Scanner, using Breuckmann stereoScan system, controlled by Optocat R2 Software and Geomagic Studio 10 post-processing software

Microanalytic and Lead Isotope Characterisation

Samples were taken from the Ram by manual micro-drilling and approximately 50mg samples were taken at each sample site.


  • J.J.R Adams
  • A. Antoniadou (Queen’s University, Belfast)
  • Gareth Beale
  • P. Bennett (Canterbury Trust)
  • I.W. Croudace (National Oceanography Centre, Southampton)
  • Graeme Earl
  • N.C. Flemming (National Oceanography Centre, Southampton)
  • C.O. Hunt (Queen’s University Belfast)
  • J. Moggeridge (Department of Non-Destructive Evaluation, AWE)
  • K. Oliver
  • A.J. Parker (University of Bristol)
  • T. Whiteside (Department of Non-Destructive Evaluation, AWE)