Also recovered was a hand-formed cooking pot from the nearby island of Pantelleria. It was filled with pine tar for use by the sailors on deck.26 This is the first example found of this essential ancient naval store in use for the daily maintenance of a ship and its rigging. To our surprise and good luck, when this resinous mass was x-rayed, a Roman copper coin was found embedded in the tar, dropped by an unlucky sailor. It is identified with Constantius II (337-361), giving a terminus post quem date for the sinking of the ship. On the obverse is the bust of Constantius II and on the reverse the emperor with knee raised is spearing a fallen horseman. The inscription reads, FEL TEMP REPARATIO, a popular type with the promise of the emperor for renewed happy times. How long ancient coins stayed in use is a subject for debate, but those least in value, such as this "centenionalis", would probably not linger for long.27
Other finds include a rare, small amphoretta from Mauritania 32 and a basalt millstone from Libya 33 of a previously unknown form. Pieces of cedar deck planking 34 and a beam of white oak 35 were recovered with mortise- and- tenon joinery. The joints were widely spaced as is normal for late Roman ships. That the "Isis" may have been an older ship when she went down is suggested by the use of some lead patching and reused timber. It also should be remembered that North Africa was the source for the wild animals so in demand for entertainment in the great colosseum in Rome and any ship coming from Carthage may well have included them in her cargo as well as textiles, sacks of grain and other biodegradable cargo.
23. McCann and Freed 1994, pp.2-58; Ballard, Archbold, McCann 1990.
24. McCann and Freed 1994, color fig. 10.
25. McCann and Freed 1994, MJ98-8, p. 39, fig.32,color fig.13.
26. McCann and Freed 1994, MJ89-14, pp. 43-44, figs. 36a, 36b, and 37. For analysis of the pine tar see, ibid., pp. 109-121 by C. W. Beck, D. R. Stewart and E. C. Stout.
27. McCann and Freed 1994, MJ89-43, p. 17, 18 and figs. 18a and 18b.
28. McCann and Freed 1994, MJ89-36, p. 45, fig. 38a and 38b. I am grateful to D.M. Bailey for suggesting this dating range to me, although the type may occur earlier and last later.
29. See McCann and Freed 1994, pp. 22-32. These large amphoras vary in height from 103 m to 104 m and could hold up to 20 gallons of liquid, the limit that a stevedore could carry. While the type is usually associated with olive oil, Freed argues that the four with pitched interiors must have contained fish products since pitch is not associated with oil jars.
30. McCann and Freed 1994, pp.35-37, MJ89-7, MJ89-10.
31. McCann and Freed 1994, pp. 33-34, MJ89-11, MJ89-19.
32. McCann and Freed 1994,MJ89-16, p.41, fig.34,color fig. 15.
33. McCann and Freed 1994, MJ89-40, p. 19, figs.20-22.
34. McCann and Freed 1994, MJ89-37, p. 11, fig. 9.
35. McCann and Freed 1994, MJ89-39, fig.10. color fig. 9.
36. McCann and Freed 1994, MJ89-13, MJ89-21, MJ89-38, figs. 12-15.
37. SK97.030, publication forthcoming.