On 9 October, while diving in the shallow waters of the Mediterranean Sea surrounding Israel’s northern coast, Shlomi Katzin noticed anchors, fragments of pottery and something that looked like a sword underwater. Although the object was all covered in sediment and shells, its shape was nevertheless too regular for a work of nature. The diver decided pick it up from the bottomto take a closer look.
As a result of later findings, it turned out that he found a sword at the bottom, which is not only about 900 years old, but probably it belonged to a knightwhich was a participant in the Crusades. The artefact measures one metre in length and after its excavation the diver handed it over to the staff of theIsrael Antiques Authority (IAA).
The sword, which has been preserved in practically perfect condition, is a beautiful and extremely rare find. It probably belonged to a knight, a participant in the Crusades. It is exciting to come across such a personal item, which transports you 900 years back to another era – – said Nir Distelfeld, a surveyor from the IAA.
Yakov Sharvit, who heads the IAA’s marine archaeology unit, said the surrounding coastline, where the sword was found, had for centuries provided shelter for ships during storms. According to the findings of the researchers, the first anchorage established at the site is about 4,000 years old.
The sheltering bays and coves have attracted merchant ships for centuries, which translates directly into rich archaeological finds – said Szarwit.
It is possible that this knight, the owner of the sword, served in the citadel of Atlit, which is located nearby. Scientists are planning examine the artefact carefullyto see if there is any information on its surface that could reveal its origin. To this end, the researchers will X-ray the sword, which may reveal a symbol or a name.
No doubt the medieval sword has been lying on the bottom all this time hidden under a layer of sand and now the sea has exposed it again. Officials from the IAA said that the object will now be dealt with by conservation specialists. Once they have completed the painstaking cleaning process and the artefact has been protected from deterioration, it will go to museum collections IAA and will be displayed as part of the exhibition.
Photo: Israel Antiques Authority – IAA
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