Archaeologists find 1700-year-old trident

A team of archaeologists from the Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University have uncovered a 1700-year-old trident in the ancient city of Assos.

Assos was an Ancient Greek city located on the Aegean coast in the present-day Çanakkale province of Turkey. The city was founded by Aeolian colonists between 1000 to 900 BC, emerging as a major centre of philosophy under the school of Aristotle.

- Advertisement -

According to Christian tradition, St. Paul visited the city during his third missionary journey (AD 53-57 AD) through Asia Minor on his way to Mytilene. Acts 20 records that Luke the Evangelist and his companions (‘we’) “went ahead to the ship and sailed [from Troas] to Assos, there intending to take Paul on board … and when he met us at Assos, we took him on board and came to Mitylene”.

Recent excavations have unearthed a trident harpoon among pieces of a collapsed vault from a Nymphaion, a structure used for distributing water typically from aqueducts.

Trident’s served various purposes, such as spearfishing, and its historical use as a polearm. In classical mythology, the trident is associated with Poseidon in Greek mythology and Neptune in Roman mythology, symbolising their dominion over the sea.

In Ancient Rome, tridents were also used by a type of gladiator called a retiarius or “net fighter”. The retiarius was traditionally pitted against a secutor, and cast a net to wrap his adversary and then used the trident to spear them.

- Advertisement -

According to the researchers, the trident is made from iron and dates from around 1700-1800-years-ago. Such discoveries are rare, which are normally found in contemporary depictions on ceramics and frescos showing fisherman harpooning fish with tridents.

According to Prof. Dr. Arslan, there is evidence of iron working at Assos, so its possible that the object may have been produced locally. Because iron objects generally oxidise, the discovery is the first example found by archaeologists during their excavations at Assos.

The object has been sent for preservation by separating the soil or oxidised parts, and then will have protective materials applied to present further oxidation of the iron.

Anadolu Agency

Header Image Credit : Çiğdem Münibe Alyanak

- Advertisement -
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan is multi-award-winning journalist and the Managing Editor at HeritageDaily. His background is in archaeology and computer science, having written over 8,000 articles across several online publications. Mark is a member of the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW), the World Federation of Science Journalists, and in 2023 was the recipient of the British Citizen Award for Education, the BCA Medal of Honour, and the UK Prime Minister's Points of Light Award.

Mobile Application


Related Articles

Underwater archaeologists find 112 glassware objects off Bulgaria’s coast

A team of underwater archaeologists from the Regional Historical Museum Burgas have recovered 112 glass objects from Chengene Skele Bay, near Burgas, Bulgaria.

Bronze Age axe found off Norway’s east coast

Archaeologists from the Norwegian Maritime Museum have discovered a Bronze Age axe off the coast of Arendal in the Skagerrak strait.

Traces of Bahrain’s lost Christian community found in Samahij

Archaeologists from the University of Exeter, in collaboration with the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities, have discovered the first physical evidence of a long-lost Christian community in Samahij, Bahrain.

Archaeologists uncover preserved wooden elements from Neolithic settlement

Archaeologists have discovered wooden architectural elements at the La Draga Neolithic settlement.

Pyramid of the Moon marked astronomical orientation axis of Teōtīhuacān

Teōtīhuacān, loosely translated as "birthplace of the gods," is an ancient Mesoamerican city situated in the Teotihuacan Valley, Mexico.

Anglo-Saxon cemetery discovered in Malmesbury

Archaeologists have discovered an Anglo-Saxon cemetery in the grounds of the Old Bell Hotel in Malmesbury, England.

Musket balls from “Concord Fight” found in Massachusetts

Archaeologists have unearthed five musket balls fired during the opening battle of the Revolutionary War at Minute Man National Historical Park in Concord, United States.

3500-year-old ritual table found in Azerbaijan

Archaeologists from the University of Catania have discovered a 3500-year-old ritual table with the ceramic tableware still in...