Diver discovers ancient Crusader sword off Israeli coast

Yard-long Crusader-era sword
A yard-long sword that experts say dates back to the Crusader era was part of a trove of ancient artifacts recovered from the Mediterranean.
(Ariel Schalit / Associated Press)

An Israeli scuba diver swimming off the country’s Mediterranean coast has salvaged an ancient sword that experts say dates back to the Crusaders.

Israel’s Antiquities Authority said Monday that the man was on a weekend dive in northern Israel when he spotted a trove of ancient artifacts that included anchors, pottery and a yard-long sword.

The diver was about 170 yards off the coast and about 16 feet down in the water when he made the discovery.


Experts say the area provided shelter for ancient ships and is home to many archaeological treasures, some dating back 4,000 years. But such discoveries can be elusive because of the constantly shifting sands.

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Fearing his discovery might be buried, the diver took the sword ashore and delivered it to government experts, the authority said. The weapon is estimated to be 900 years old.

“It was found encrusted with marine organisms, but is apparently made of iron,” said Nir Distelfeld, an inspector in the authority’s robbery-prevention unit. “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 sword is to be cleaned and further analyzed. The diver, who was identified as Shlomi Katzin, was given a certificate of appreciation for good citizenship.