900-year-old sword found embedded in shells off Israel

900-year-old sword found embedded in shells off Israel

A diver in Israel has rescued an ancient sword off the country’s Mediterranean coast that experts say dates back to the Crusaders.

A sword believed to have belonged to a crusader who sailed to the Holy Land nearly a millennium ago has been recovered from the Mediterranean seabed thanks to a sharp-eyed amateur diver, the Israel Antiquities Authority said.

900-year-old sword found embedded in shells off Israel

Although encrusted with marine organisms, the meter-long blade, hilt and handle were distinctive enough to notice after undercurrents shifted the sands that had hidden it.

The location, a natural cove near the port city of Haifa, suggested it had served as a shelter for seafarers, said Yaakov Sharvit, director of the authority’s marine archaeology unit.

“It’s actually heavy,” Sharvit said as he held up the sword and spoke of the crusader knight who had probably fought with it.

“I’m trying to imagine him in the field with all the armor and the sword and fighting with it … maybe they were bigger than us today, but definitely stronger. And it’s amazing,” he said.

The sword, believed to be 900 years old, will go on display after it is cleaned and restored. It is to be further analyzed, while the diver, identified as Shlomi Katzin, received a certificate of recognition for good citizenship, the authority said.

900-year-old sword found embedded in shells off Israel
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