Undersea discovery: Israeli diver finds ancient Crusader sword

The Israel Antiquities Authority called the find “beautiful and rare.”

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

A resident of northern Israel made an important discovery on the seafloor during a weekend leisure dive, finding a piece of history that had been lost for almost 1,000 years, the Israel Antiquities Authority said Monday.

Shlomi Katzin of Atlit spotted a 900-year-old sword from the Crusader era wedged in the sand on the seafloor, alongside old stone and metal anchors and pottery fragments.

Worried that the tides and shifting sands would make the sword impossible to find in the future, Katzin retrieved the weapon and immediately turned it over to the IAA.

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

The sword, whose blade measures around one meter (3.2 feet) and its handle 30 centimeters (11 inches) “was found encrusted with marine organisms but is apparently made of iron,” Distelfeld said.

“It is exciting to encounter such a personal object, taking you 900 years back in time to a different era, of knights, armor and swords,” he added.

IAA’s Marine Archaeology Unit Director Kobi Sharvit said that the Mediterranean coast near Haifa had been a popular stopping point for vessels, because of the natural protection its coves provide during storms.

Entire communities, such as Dor and Atlit, sprang up around the coves.

“These conditions have attracted merchant ships down the ages, leaving behind rich archaeological finds. The recently recovered sword is just one such find,” Sharvit explained.

The area where the sword was found has previously been identified by the IAA as a site of interest.

According to the IAA, vessels frequented the area as early as the Late Bronze Age, some 4,000 years ago.