The sword was first identified in the water by the archaeologist Dr. Udi Galili *The finding of the sword may indicate that the natural anchorage where it was found was also used by ships during the Crusader period * The citizen, Shlomi Katzin, handed the sword over to the Antiquities Authority and was awarded a certificate of appreciation for his good citizenship
Shlomi Katzin, a resident of Atlit, snorkeled last Saturday in the Carmel beach area. During the dive, to his surprise, he recognized ancient items on the bottom, which, apparently, were exposed as a result of the activity of the waves and currents, which drove the sand. At the site he saw ancient stone anchors, anchors made of iron, fragments of pottery, and an impressive sword, whose blade is about 1 m long, and whose handle is about 30 cm long.
Fearing theft of the findings or re-covering them in sand due to the activity of the sea currents, the diver officer took the sword with him and left the sea. He showed exemplary citizenship, located the telephone number of the supervisor of the robbery prevention unit in the north, and reported to the Antiquities Authority. The sword was handed over to the state treasury, and an officer received a certificate for his good citizenship.
However, the Antiquities Authority issued a clarification according to which the sword was identified in the water earlier by the maritime archaeologist Dr. Ehud Galili, who previously served as the director of the authority's maritime unit.
According to Nir Distelfeld, supervisor of the anti-theft unit at the Antiquities Authority, "The sword, which was preserved in perfect condition, is a beautiful and rare find and seems to have belonged to a Crusader knight. It was found covered with a marine clasp but appears to be made of iron. It's exciting to come across such a personal object, which takes you in your imagination 900 years back in time, to another era, of knights, armor and swords."
"On the Carmel coast there are many natural bays, which could have been used as hiding places for ancient ships during a storm, and even larger bays, around which entire settlements and ancient port cities developed, such as Dor and Atlit," he explains Kobi Sharvit, Director of the Maritime Archeology Unit at the Antiquities Authority. "These conditions, throughout the ages, attracted merchant ships, and these, left behind many archaeological traces. The recently found sword is just one of them.”
The site where the anchors and sword were discovered has been monitored by the Antiquities Authority since June, after receiving reports of its initial discovery, from citizens Boaz Langford and Rafael Bahlul. The finds on the spot are exposed and covered depending on the movement of the sands, and therefore, they are very elusive.
"The discovery of ancient finds by swimmers and free divers is a phenomenon that has been increasing in recent years, with the expansion of these sports," says Sharvit.
"The underwater survey is dynamic. Every storm - even a small one, moves the sand and exposes areas on the seabed, and at the same time, covers other areas. Hence the great importance of reporting on the discovery of the finds, which we always strive to document in situ to maximize the archaeological information. The archaeological findings reported from the site show that the place was used as a small and temporary natural anchorage for ships that found hiding there. The identification of the uncovered findings indicates that the anchor was used already in the Late Bronze Age - 4,000 years ago, and now, the finding of the sword may indicate that the natural anchor was also used in the Crusader period, about 900 years ago."
Eli Escozido, director of the Antiquities Authority, praised Shlomi for his good citizenship. "Every ancient object that is uncovered helps us in assembling the historical puzzle of the Land of Israel. After the sword has been cleaned and investigated in the Antiquities Authority laboratories, we will work to present it to the public."
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