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Two wrecks full of treasure found off the coast of Israel

In the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Caesarea, archaeologists from Israel have found two shipwrecks full of magnificent artefacts. Marine archaeologists from Israel have examined two wrecks sunk in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Caesarea. At the sites they have discovered many wonderful objects that can boldly be called
Published: December 23, 2021 - 09:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 23:48
Two wrecks full of treasure found off the coast of Israel

In the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Caesarea, archaeologists from Israel have found two shipwrecks full of magnificent artefacts.

Marine archaeologists from Israel have examined two wrecks sunk in the waters of the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Caesarea. At the sites they have discovered many wonderful objects that can boldly be called treasure. Both in historical and purely material terms.

Ring found under water
An archaeologist presents the gold ring he found Photo: Israel Antiquities Authority

The researchers reported that the older wreck is the remains of an ancient vessel from the Roman period. The wreck of the second ship is younger and dates back to medieval times. According to archaeologists, from the Mameluke reign.

Ancient coin
One of the coins found by archaeologists Photo: Israel Antiquities Authority

Both ships anchored nearby and were probably destroyed by the storm. They may have been anchored offshore due to some difficulty or fear of stormy weather. Sailors know very well that mooring in shallow open water outside the harbour is dangerous and leads to disaster said Jacob Sharvit and Dror Planer of the IAA’s Marine Archaeology Unit.

It is undoubtedly worth noting that the archaeologists carried out their work underwater at a depth of only 4 metres. Despite this, they found many magnificent artefacts that have been preserved to this day. The oldest artefacts that the researchers found on the wrecks date back to the middle of the 3rd century. Among the excavated artefacts are many coins, as well as personal belongings of the crew.

The ring of the good shepherd
Gold ring of the “Good Shepherd” Photo: Israel Antiquities Authority
Unusual ring

One of the most interesting finds reported by archaeologists is certainly the “Good Shepherd” ring. It is a massive gold ring with an inlaid green stone. On the stone is an engraved figure of a young shepherd with a ram or sheep on his shoulders. It is believed that the drawing is an early representation of Jesus Christ. Its owner was probably early Christian.

Harp of David
A small gemstone with the “Harp of David” Photo: Israel Antiquities Authority

Among the intriguing objects, archaeologists have also found a red gemstone. It was probably once set in a ring. The stone shows a carved image of a lyre, known in Jewish tradition as the “Harp of David” and in Greek mythology as the “Lyre of Apollo”.

The coasts of Israel are extremely rich in sites and finds that are extremely important national and international cultural heritage resources. These sites are extremely vulnerable, which is why the Israeli Antiquities Authority conducts underwater surveys to locate, monitor and salvage any objects said Eli Eskozido, director of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Monuments recovered from the wreck
A number of unusual artefacts have been found on both wrecks Photo Israel Antiquities Authority

In addition to the above-mentioned ring and precious stone, archaeologists also found hundreds of silver and bronze Roman coins from the mid-3rd century. On the other wreck they located a large treasure of silver coins from the Mameluke period. The divers also discovered a bronze figure of an eagle, an inkwell, numerous bronze bells, ceramic vessels and a large iron anchor.

On the occasion of their discovery, the researchers appealed to divers to report even the smallest finds. Making a note of location and passing it on to archaeologists could lead to the next great discovery, they say. Sometimes a single item can be just the tip of the ‘iceberg’.

Photo: Israel Antiquities Authority

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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