Diver discovers ancient crusader sword off Israeli coast

Jerusalem: An Israeli scuba diver has salvaged an ancient sword off the country’s Mediterranean coast that experts say dates back to the Crusaders.

Israel’s Antiquities Authority said the man was on a weekend dive in northern Israel when he spotted a trove of ancient artefacts that included anchors, pottery and a metre-long sword.

The diver was about 150 metres off the coast in five-metre-deep water when he made the discovery.

Experts say the area provided shelter for ancient ships and is home to many archaeological treasures, some dating back 4,000 years. But such discoveries can be elusive because of the constantly shifting sands.

Fearing his discovery might be buried, the diver took the sword ashore and delivered it to government experts. The weapon is estimated to be 900 years old.

Over the centuries, the ancient weapon was colonised by sea creatures and is now entirely sheathed in shells.

Nir Distelfeld, Inspector for the Israel Antiquities Authority, wielding the sword. Credit:Israel Antiquities Authority

“It was found encrusted with marine organisms, but is apparently made of iron,” said Nir Distelfeld, an inspector in the authority’s robbery prevention unit. “It is exciting to encounter such a personal object, taking you 900 years back in time to a different era, with knights, armor and swords.”

In the video of the discovery, the shifting sands had drifted off the weapon, leaving it resting on the sea bed.

The sword is to be cleaned and further analysed, while the diver, identified as Shlomi Katzin, was given a certificate of appreciation for good citizenship.


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