The Israel Antiquities Authority said on Tuesday that a diver floating in the Mediterranean discovered a large sword that experts say is about 900 years old and dates from the Crusades.
Kobi Sharvit, director of the marine archeology department of the antiquities agency, said an amateur diver was sailing about 150 meters offshore near the Israeli port of Haifa a few days ago when he noticed a sword lying on the ocean floor four to five meters below the surface.
Sharvith said the diver found the sword and immediately took it to the antiquities center. Sharvith said the sword – encrusted with marine organisms when discovered – is the most complete and well-preserved sword he has seen in 31 years. He described the sword as large, heavy, and made of iron.
He added that the one meter long blade, hilt and hilt were distinctive and highly visible after the underwater currents appeared to have shifted the sand that was hiding them.
Sharvith said that since the sword was found in a bay near the Crusader Atlit Castle on the northern coast of Israel, it is believed that the sword belonged to a soldier during the Crusades.
The Crusades were a series of medieval European Christian military expeditions to liberate the Holy Land from Muslims in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries.
Sharvith said that historically, the hilt of the sword may be the most important part of the weapon, as this is where decorations are often found and perhaps even names or initials that will help identify the sword.
He said that after it was cleaned, examined and restored, the antiques would put the sword on display.
Some of the information for this report came from the Associated Press, Reuters, and Agence France-Presse.