An amateur scuba diver, spotted an unusual object while exploring the shallow waters in a cove off the coast of Haifa, Israel. Unbeknownst to him, the curious object which he took up from the seabed, turned out to be a 900-year-old crusader sword.
The sword was found 200 meters (656 feet) from the shore, at a depth of four meters (13 feet), Koby Sharvit, director of the IAA's Marine Archaeology Unit, told CNN on Tuesday.
Shlomi Katzin, a resident of the town of Atlit, spotted the sword and other centuries-old artifacts on the sea bed off the Carmel coast, where shifting sands had apparently made them suddenly visible, reports Nicky Blackburn for Israel21c.
Katzin saw ancient stone anchors, anchors made of metal pottery fragments, and a sword with a one-meter long blade and a hilt measuring 30 centimeters.
The Crusades were a series of conflicts between Christians and Muslim forces over the control of Jerusalem and other parts of the Holy Land. The conflict, which began in 1095 and lasted for centuries.Some of the best-known wars were fought between the 11th and 13th centuries, when crusaders invaded the Holy Land, a region that corresponds to modern-day Palestine and Israel.
“The sword, which has been preserved in perfect condition, because it was buried in a deep layer of sand, without oxygen. It is a beautiful and rare find and evidently belonged to a Crusader knight,” said Nir Distelfeld, Inspector for the Israel Antiquities Authority’s Robbery Prevention Unit.
“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, armor, and swords.”
Kobi Sharvit, who heads the IAA's (Israel Antiques Authority) Marine Archaeology Unit, said the Carmel coast, where the blade was found, provided shelter for ships during storms throughout centuries of shipping activity along the coast, and thus and is home to many archaeological treasures.
"These conditions have attracted merchant ships down the ages, leaving behind rich archaeological finds," he said.
Researchers were assuming it might be linked to the nearby crusaders' citadel at Atlit, he added.
The IAA has been quoted in media reports as saying that the sword would be cleaned, analyzed, and will be put on public display.