An amateur diver has recovered a sword in the Mediterranean Sea that is believed to have belonged to a crusader knight around 900 years ago.
Shlomi Katzin was exploring off the coast of northern Israel when he spotted the 1m-long object, now almost fully encrusted with barnacles and other marine organisms. He has since handed it over to the Israel Antiques Authority (IAA), which has confirmed the authenticity of the sword.
“The sword was preserved in perfect condition, it is a beautiful and rare find,” Nir Distelfeld, an inspector for the IAA’s Robbery Prevention Unit, said in a statement. “It was found encrusted with marine organisms, but it’s apparently made of iron. It is exciting to encounter such a personal object, taking you 900 years back in time to a different era, with knights, armour, and swords.”
Crusader knights were Christians who tried to seize control of the Holy Lands in the 11th and 12th centuries. The sword was discovered near the northern port city of Haifa, which the IAA believes served as a key haven for travellers.
“Every antique that has been uncovered helps us assemble the historical puzzle of the Land of Israel,” Eli Escozido, the director of the IAA, added. “After the sword is cleaned and investigated in the laboratories of the Israel Antiquities Authority, we will work to present it to the public.”