Israeli Scuba Diver Finds Centuries-Old Crusader Sword

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An Israeli scuba diver has retrieved a coral-encrusted iron sword, probably lost during the Crusades some 900 years ago, while diving off the coast of Haifa, Israel.

Shlomi Katzin came across the sword while diving from Carmel Beach, an area used as a port of shelter for maritime traffic since around 2000 BC. the 1m-long sword with a 30cm hilt was probably uncovered by currents shifting sand along the sea bed.

Not wanting to leave the sword in place for fear it might be lost or stolen, Katzin recovered it and brought it to the attention of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), which confirmed the weapon had belonged to a Crusader knight.

Inspector Nir Distelfeld of the IAA’s Robbery Prevention Unit said: 'The sword, which has been preserved in perfect condition, is a beautiful and rare find and evidently belonged to a Crusader knight.

'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.'

The ancient artefact is the latest in a series of find, a 'growing phenomenon in recent years due to the rise in activities such as snorkelling and scuba diving, according to Kobi Sharvit, director of the IAA’s marine archaeology unit.

'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,' said Sharvit. 'The recent discovery of the sword suggests that the natural cove was also used in the Crusader period, some 900 years ago.'

The sword is currently undergoing treatment by the IAA's National Treasures Department, where it is to be preserved and put on public display.

 

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