An amateur diver found it. It is almost a thousand years old. A crusader’s sword found in Israel washed up on the Mediterranean coast. Archaeologists believe it was dropped by a crusader on a sea voyage. It happened, most likely, during the conquest of the Promised Land.
Covered with coral
“It is preserved in perfect condition. It is a beautiful and rare find. It evidently belonged to a crusader knight,” said Nir Distelfeld. He is an inspector with the Theft Prevention Unit of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
The artifact is about 900 years old. It was found by Shlomi Katzin, an Israeli who was recreationally scuba diving. It was off the Mediterranean coast of the northern Israeli city of Carmel. Pure chance and luck: the underground currents moved the sand revealing this treasure.
To what period does it belong? To the period when the Crusaders and the Muslims were fighting for control of the Holy Land.
“The sword is very heavy because of the marine organisms [conchas y corales] that have stuck to it. It’s a very large sword, we think it’s made of iron,” Distelfeld said. It’s a meter long and has a 30-centimeter hilt.
Journey to the bottom of time
“It’s exciting to find such a personal object. It takes you almost a thousand years back in time.” Katzin was diving about 200 meters offshore, at a depth of 4 meters. He also found ancient stone and metal anchors and pottery shards.
AAI is not disclosing the exact location of Katzin’s discovery. It does not want to attract snorkeling antiquities thieves, a real problem in Israel. Recovering underwater archaeological remains is often a challenge.
“The underwater topography is dynamic. Even the smallest storm moves sand and reveals areas on the seafloor. But it also buries others,” Sharvit said.
A crusader’s sword found in Israel will be scanned. So they will know who forged it. However, it has all the characteristics of the Crusaders.
Once the sword has been cleaned it will be displayed to the public. Only then will it be possible to determine its exact provenance.