An amateur scuba diver has discovered a 900-year-old sword believed to have belonged to a crusader knight off the Carmel coast of northern Israel. Shlomi Katzin found the sword on a dive last Sunday. It and other artifacts had been exposed by shifts in sands after a storm.
It is encrusted in shells and marine life that attached themselves to the oxidizing iron of the sword. The three-foot blade and foot-long hilt are intact underneath the thick concretions, and archaeologists believe it was well-preserved in the steady temperature of the Mediterranean water.
“The Carmel coast contains many natural coves that provided shelter for ancient ships in a storm, and larger coves around which entire settlements and ancient port cities developed, such as Dor and Atlit,” explains Kobi Sharvit, Director of the Israel Antiquities Authority’s Marine Archaeology Unit. “These conditions have attracted merchant ships down the ages, leaving behind rich archaeological finds. The recently recovered sword is just one such find.”
The site where the anchors and the sword were found has been monitored by the Israel Antiquities Authority since June, when it was first discovered by Boaz Langford and Rafael Bahalul. The site’s finds are very elusive, since they appear and disappear with the movement of the sands.
The sword is now in the Israel Antiquities Authority’s conservation laboratory where it will be cleaned and studied before it is put on public display.
Here is video from Shlomi Katzin’s GoPro camera when he found the sword.