Israeli divers find 900-year-old crusader sword in the Mediterranean

The Israel Antiquities Authority said on Tuesday (19/10) that a diver found a large sword in the Mediterranean that experts estimate to be 900 years old, dating back to the time of the Crusades.

The director of the Authority’s Division of Marine Archeology, Kobi Sharvit, said the diver was swimming about 150 meters off the coast near the port of Haifa a few days ago when he spotted a sword on the seabed, which is about four to five meters from the surface.

Sharvit said the diver took the sword and immediately took it to archaeological authorities. Sharvit said the sword, which was covered in marine organisms when it was found, was the most complete and in the most intact condition he had ever seen. He described the sword as large, heavy, and made of iron.

He added that the one meter long sword had a unique hilt and was clearly visible after the currents on the sea floor managed to move the sand that was hiding it.

Yaakov Sharvit of the Israel Antiquities Authority holds a sword believed to belong to a crusader soldier, in Caesarea, Israel, October 18, 2021. (Photo: Reuters/Ronen Zvulun)

Yaakov Sharvit of the Israel Antiquities Authority holds a sword believed to belong to a crusader soldier, in Caesarea, Israel, October 18, 2021. (Photo: Reuters/Ronen Zvulun)

Sharvit said that because the sword was found in a small bay, not far from the Athlete Crusaders castle on Israel’s northern coast, it was assumed to belong to a soldier from the Crusades era.

The Crusades were a series of medieval European military expeditions led by Christians to reclaim the Holy Land from the Muslims in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries.

Sharvit said, from a historical point of view, the hilt of the sword was the most important part of the weapon, because it was on that part that decorations and, perhaps, names or initials were often found and would aid further identification.

He said, after being cleaned, researched, and preserved, the archaeological authorities would exhibit the sword to the public. [jm/rd]

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