Remarkably well-preserved sword found by diver off Israel’s coast
A Crusader sword discovered off of the coast of Israel on the seafloor by a diver was handed over to the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). While exploring off Carmel Beach, near Haifa, the scuba diver discovered a cache of ancient anchors and pots and an incredibly well-preserved longsword dating to the 12th century C.E., the time of the Crusades. Fearing that sand might cover the finds, Shlomi Katzin, the diver, brought the sword ashore and then contacted archaeologists with the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), who have since undertaken an extensive survey of the area.
The Crusader sword is wonderfully preserved, although heavily encrusted with barnacles and other sea life. At over 4 feet long, the date and style of the iron sword indicate that it probably belonged to a Crusader knight. With its deep waters and coves, Israel’s northern coast has harbored ships for more than 4,000 years, including during the Crusader period. According to Kobi Sharvit, Director of the IAA’s Marine Archaeology Unit, “these conditions have attracted merchant ships down the ages, leaving behind rich archaeological finds. The recently recovered sword is just one such find.”
Scuba diving and marine exploration have grown in popularity in northern Israel over the past few decades and, as a result, finds like these have grown ever more common. They show that the region’s ancient and medieval history involved not just the peoples and cultures of the Levantine interior, but also the maritime culture of the coast.