Amateur diver finds 900-year-old Crusader sword off the coast of Israel

Oct 19, 2021, 3:24 PM
In this photo provided by Israel's Antiquities Authority, an ancient sword is seen after it was dis...
In this photo provided by Israel's Antiquities Authority, an ancient sword is seen after it was discovered by an Israeli diver off the country's Mediterranean coast near Haifa, Israel, Oct. 14, 2021. An Israeli scuba diver has salvaged an ancient sword off the country's Mediterranean coast that experts say dates back to the Crusaders. Israel's Antiquities Authority said the man was on a weekend dive in northern Israel last Saturday when he spotted the sword. Fearing his discovery might be buried, the diver took the sword, estimated to be 900 years old, ashore and delivered it to government experts, the authority said. (Israel's Antiquities Authority via AP)
(Israel's Antiquities Authority via AP)

(CNN) — A scuba diver has found a 900-year-old Crusader sword with a three-foot blade off the coast of Israel.

The amateur diver spotted the sword and other ancient artifacts on the seabed off northern Israel, according to a statement from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) published Monday.

He was diving on October 9 when he spotted the sword, which boasts a foot-long hilt, along with stone anchors, metal anchors and pottery fragments.

The artifacts were “apparently uncovered by waves and undercurrents that had shifted the sand,” the IAA said.

The diver took the sword up to the surface so it wouldn’t be stolen or covered up again, before handing it in to the IAA.

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.

Its size and shape suggest it belonged to a Crusader, as does the fact that it was found just a few kilometers from Atlit castle, a Crusader fortress, Sharvit added.

Dating from 1096 to the late 13th century, the Crusades were a set of military expeditions by Western European Christians that aimed to retake the Holy Land in the Middle East after centuries of Muslim wars of expansion.

Nir Distelfeld, Inspector for the IAA’s Robbery Prevention Unit, said the sword is a rare find that has been preserved in perfect condition.

“It was found encrusted with marine organisms, but is apparently made of iron,” Distelfeld said in the statement.

“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.”

Sharvit told CNN the sword is well preserved because it was buried in a deep layer of sand, without oxygen.

It currently weighs around 5-6 kilograms (11-13 pounds) due to the incrustation of stones and shells, but the sword itself probably weighs 1-2 kilograms (2.2-4.4 pounds), he said.

The coastline in the area has many natural coves that provided shelter for ancient ships, and settlements such as Dor and Atlit developed around the larger coves, according to the IAA.

This means the area was popular with merchant ships — and that means a wealth of potential archaeological finds.

The site has been monitored since June, when some artifacts were first discovered by members of the public. But the movement of the sands means artifacts are “very elusive,” according to the statement.

“Our work actually is like a puzzle,” Sharvit told CNN, explaining that even small storms can move the sand around and expose new objects.

Other artifacts recovered from the site show it was used in the Late Bronze Age, some 4,000 years ago, by ships seeking shelter, Sharvit added.

He told CNN that the team will closely monitor the site in the coming months.

“It’s very strange to find just one artifact” from the Crusader period, he said, explaining that the sword could have been left following a shipwreck, or a Crusader landing party.

Winter storms could expose more artifacts, he added, and archaeologists will carry out further surveys in the area.

In the meantime, the sword will be sent to the IAA labs to be cleaned, said Sharvit, who hopes to learn more about its history when the metal itself is revealed.

IAA Director-General Eli Escosido said: “Once the sword has been cleaned and researched in the Israel Antiquities Authority’s laboratories, we will ensure it is displayed to the public.”

™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

World News

Venus and Jupiter are exceptionally close to one another in an artist's rendering.
Jackie Wattles

A stunning lineup of five planets will decorate the night sky

Onlookers will be able to catch the best glimpse of the alignment — which will include Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Uranus — on Tuesday evening, just after sunset.
2 days ago
Samples of Beethoven's hair allowed researchers to sequence the composer's DNA.
(Ira F. Brilliant C...
shley Strickland

DNA analysis of Beethoven’s hair reveals health issues, family secret

A team of researchers stepped into history by using DNA analysis to understand an important figure in classical music a little bit better
2 days ago
An Eastern Grey Kangaroo is seen on November 25, 2022 in Coffs Harbour, Australia. As spring gives ...
Hilary Whiteman and George Ramsay

Australia loves its kangaroos so much it sets quotas to kill them

Kangaroos are on Australia's coat of arms and the tail of the national airline, but every year state authorities allow licensed hunters to kill millions of them.
2 days ago
Russian President Vladimir Putin listens to Russian Transport Minister Vitaly Savelyev during their...
Associated Press

Putin says Russia will station tactical nukes in Belarus

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced plans on Saturday to station tactical nuclear weapons in neighboring Belarus.
3 days ago
FILE: KHERSON, UKRAINE - NOVEMBER 27: The overgrown playground of the Kherson Children's house (orp...
David McKenzie, Ghazi Balkiz and Maria Avdeeva

A Ukrainian orphanage tried to hide its children when war began. Then the Russians came

When the war began in February last year, the staff at the children's home came up with a plan.
4 days ago
Associated Press

Why the religious fast for Ramadan, Lent and other holy days

Here is a quick look at fasting as an act of faith across religions.
5 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Stack of old laptops with dark background...
PC Laptops

Old Laptop Upgrades You Need to Try Before Throwing it Away

Get the most out of your investment. Try these old laptop upgrades before throwing it out to keep it running fast and efficient.
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Close up of an offset printing machine during production...
Les Olson IT

Top 7 Reasons to Add a Production Printer to Your Business

Learn about the different digital production printers and how they can help your company save time and money.
vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
Amateur diver finds 900-year-old Crusader sword off the coast of Israel