A Scuba Diver Discovered a 900-Year-Old Sword Off the Coast of Israel

  • An Israeli scuba diver discovered an ancient sword while diving off the Mediterranean coast. 
  • Experts estimate the sword is at least 900 years old and dates back to the Crusaders. 
  • The diver, Shlomi Katzin, feared the sword would be reburied in sand, so he brought it ashore.

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

Authorities said Monday that the diver, Shlomi Katzin, was recently on a weekend dive near Haifa, Israel, when he spotted a trove of ancient artifacts that included anchors, pottery, and a 3-foot-long sword.

The weapon is estimated to be 900 years old and likely belonged to a Crusader knight, Israel’s Antiquities Authority said. The Crusaders were western Christians who attempted to seize control of the Holy Lands in Jeureselam during the 12th century, according to The New York Times

“It was found encrusted with marine organisms, but is apparently made of iron,” Nir Distelfeld, an inspector in the authority’s robbery prevention unit, told the Associated Press.

“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,” he said.

The diver was about 500 feet off the coast in 17-feet-deep water, which experts say is an area that is home to many archaeological treasures, some dating back 4,000 years, according to Israel’s Antiquities Authority. 

According to The New York Times, a storm in June shifted the ocean’s sand in this area, which uncovered some of the ancient artifacts. While government officials were aware of the location, such discoveries can be elusive because of the constantly moving sands, the Associated Press reported. 

Fearing his discovery might be buried once again in sand, the diver took the sword ashore and delivered it to government experts, the authority said. 

An image of the sword underwater.

An image of the sword underwater off Israel’s Mediterranean coast.

Israel’s Antiquities Authority/AP


The sword will be cleaned, further analyzed, and placed in a museum, according to The New York Times, and Katzin was given a certificate of appreciation for good citizenship.

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