If a scuba diver had to describe their ideal dive, it would likely involve stunning views of ocean ecosystems or an up-close-and-personal look inside a community of diverse marine life. But, would it involve ancient weaponry?
On Saturday, Oct. 16, an ordinary dive turned extraordinary for one Israeli scuba diver when he discovered a sword that experts believe has a lifespan that spans centuries.
Diver Shlomi Katzin was exploring a portion of the Mediterranean Sea just off Israel's Carmel beach, located south of Haifa, an Israeli port city. While on this expedition, Katzin came across a treasure trove of artifacts tucked into the seabed.
Katzin discovered stone and metal anchors and unearthed pottery fragments, but potentially the most stunning among the newfound treasures was a large, sea-life-encrusted sword. Fearing that the newly unearthed sword would be buried again by the sea, or worse, stolen, Katzin ended his dive and contacted the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) in Jerusalem.
Once the IAA had an opportunity to analyze the sword, an astounding revelation came to light. Experts with the IAA determined the weapon was about 900 years old, which would date back to the time of the Crusades, according to a statement posted to the organization's Facebook page
"The sword, which has been preserved in perfect condition, is a beautiful and rare find and evidently belonged to a Crusader knight," Nir Distelfeld, an inspector for the IAA's robbery prevention unit, said in the statement. "It's exciting to encounter such a personal object, that takes you in your imagination 900 years back in time, to another period, of knights, armors and swords."
The storm's blade is believed to be made of iron and measures around 3.3 feet (40 inches) in length. Adding in the length of the hilt, the entire sword measures in at an impressive 4.5 feet (54 inches) long, according to NBC News.
The sword and the other artifacts were all discovered within the same 1,000-square-foot site, The New York Times reported. The IAA has been aware of this site since back in June when a storm shifted the sand enough to unearth some artifacts. However, the discovery of additional items on the site remains difficult due to the continuous movement of the sand.
According to the Times, experts said the knight to whom the sword belonged likely lost it at sea or in battle.
For reporting the incredible sword to the IAA, Katzin received a certificate of appreciation for good citizenship, according to NBC News.
The IAA says the sword will be displayed to the public after it has been cleaned and research has been conducted.
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