A 900-year-old sword believed to belong to a crusader sailing towards the Holy Land has been found at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Israel.
The Israel Antiquities Authority said the one-meter-long sword was discovered on the seafloor off the coast of Carmel by Shlomi Katzin, an amateur scuba diver.
Nir Distelfeld, the inspector of Theft Prevention Unit, said:
“The well-preserved sword is a beautiful and rare find, it obviously belongs to a Crusader Knight. The sword was found covered with marine organisms, but it appears to be made of iron. It’s exciting to encounter such a personal object that takes you 900 years back to a different era filled with knights, armor and swords.”
Crusaders were the name given to those who participated in military campaigns by Christian forces between the 11th and 13th centuries to reclaim control of the Holy Land, roughly corresponding to the position of the modern state of Israel. It is thought that the sliding of the sands at the bottom of the sea revealed the distinctive weapon with its 30 cm long hilt.
An ancient stone, metal hoes and potsherds were also found next to the sword that will be displayed after it has been cleaned and restored. Kobi Sharvit, Director of the Marine Archeology Unit, stated that the area, which is a natural cove near the port city of Haifa, functions as a shelter for sailors:
“Those conditions have attracted merchant ships through the ages and left behind rich archaeological finds.”
Eli Escosido, Executive Director of the Antiquities Authority, praised Katzin for handing over the sword, saying:
“Every artifact found allows us to put together the pieces of the historical puzzle of the land of Israel. After the sword has been cleaned and researched in the laboratories of the Israel Antiquities Authority, we will have it displayed for the public.”