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900-year-old Crusader Sword In Israel

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A scuba diver found a sword thought to have belonged to a crusader knight 900 years ago. The amateur diver was exploring shallow waters off northern Israel.

The diver, a hobbyist named Shlomi Katzin spotted the sword and other ancient artifacts on the seabed off northern Israel, according to a statement from the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) published on Monday.

The sword has a foot-long hilt, along with stone anchors, metal anchors and pottery fragments. The sword was found 200 meters (656 feet) from the shore, at a depth of four meters (13 feet). Its size and shape suggest it belonged to a Crusader, as does the fact that it was found just a few kilometers from Atlit castle, a Crusader fortress.

The artefacts were “apparently uncovered by waves and undercurrents that had shifted the sand, says IAA. The diver took the sword up to the surface so it wouldn’t be stolen or covered up again, before handing it in to the IAA.

Dating from 1096 to the late 13th century, the Crusades were a set of military expeditions by Western European Christians that aimed to retake the Holy Land in the Middle East after centuries of Muslim wars of expansion. The sword is a rare find that has been preserved in perfect condition. It is well preserved because it was buried in a deep layer of sand, without oxygen.

Other artefacts recovered from the site show it was used in the Late Bronze Age, some 4,000 years ago, by ships seeking shelter. Winter storms could expose more artefacts and archaeologists will carry out further surveys in the area. It’s very strange to find just one artefact from the Crusader period experts pointed out. Once the sword has been cleaned and researched in the Israel Antiquities Authority’s laboratories it will be displayed to the public.

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