Rachel Fieldhouse

Travel Trouble

Amateur diver uncovers 900-year-old treasure

Amateur diver uncovers 900-year-old treasure

An amateur diver has found a sword believed to have belonged to a crusader knight from about 900 years ago off Israel’s northern coast.

Shlomi Katzin made the discovery while scuba diving off the Carmel coast, as well as finding ancient stone anchors, metal anchors, and pottery fragments.

The sword, which has a one-metre-long blade and a 30-centimetre hilt, was found encrusted with marine organisms and is thought to have emerged after the sands shifted.

The hilt of the sword found by Mr Katzin. Image Shlomi Katzin / IAA

Mr Katzin took his find ashore after fearing it would be stolen or buried once again in the sands.

After reporting the find to the Israel Antiquities Authority’s Robbery Prevention Unit, Mr Katzin was awarded a certificate for good citizenship.

The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) said the sword would be put on public display once it had been cleaned and analysed.

“The sword, which has been preserved in perfect condition, is a beautiful and rare find and evidently belonged to a crusader knight,” said Nir Distelfeld, IAA’s Robbery Prevention Unit Inspector.

“It was found encrusted with marine organisms but is apparently made of iron. It is exciting to encounter such a personal object, taking you 900 years back in time to a different era, with knights, armour and swords.”

Kobi Sharvit, the head of IAA’s Marine Archaeology Unit, said the Carmel coast had provided shelter for ships during storms over the centuries of shipping activity, making it a hotspot for treasured finds.

“These conditions have attracted merchant ships down the ages, leaving behind rich archaeological finds,” he said.

“The recently recovered sword is just one such find.”

Eli Escosido, the IAA’s general director, praised Mr Katzin for coming forward with the discovery.

The Crusaders fought in a series of religious wars during the medieval period, with the most commonly known campaigns occurring in the eastern Mediterranean region.

Image: Shlomi Katzin / IAA

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