Archaeometallurgical analysis of maritime steel nails from crusader Jaffa, ca. 13th century AD

Brett Kaufman, Davide Zori, Aaron A. Burke, Martin Peilstöcker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The harbor town of Jaffa (Tel Yafo) was vital for the medieval Crusader States, functioning as a place where reinforcements, pilgrims, and communications entered the Latin East. An assemblage of five ship nails from Jaffa that were removed for reuse in the 13th century AD are examined and shown to be informative for understanding Crusader iron production, economic sustainability in the Crusader States, and the connections between northern European and Mediterranean ship construction traditions. Archaeometallurgical analyses of these ship nails demonstrate the first metallographically documented examples of Crusader steel recovered from archaeological contexts, as well as rare evidence of uncorroded Crusader alloys (non-numismatic). The analysis also provides likely evidence for the use of iron hardware from the northern European tradition in the Crusader-period Levant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-86
Number of pages20
JournalMediterranean Archaeology and Archaeometry
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2018


  • Crusades
  • Ferrous metallurgy
  • Levant
  • Metallography
  • Middle ages
  • Ship nails
  • Shipbuilding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


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