The meter-long barnacle-covered blade was discovered by amateur diver Shlomi Katzin on the seabed along the Carmel Coast, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) has said.
Nir Distelfeld, Inspector of the IAA Theft Prevention Unit, said: “The sword, which has been kept in perfect condition, is a beautiful and rare find and clearly belonged to a knight crusader.
“It was found encrusted with marine organisms, but it is apparently made of iron. It’s exciting to encounter such a personal item, taking you back 900 years to another era, complete with knights, armor, and swords.
Crusaders was the name given to those who participated in the military expeditions of the Christian powers between the 11th and 13th centuries to regain control of the Holy Land, which roughly corresponds to the location of the modern state of Israel. .
The quicksand at the bottom of the sea is believed to have uncovered the distinctive weapon, with its 30cm long hilt. An ancient stone, metal anchors, and pottery shards were found next to the sword, which will be on display after being cleaned and restored.
The location, a natural cove near the port city of Haifa, suggests it had served as a shelter for sailors, said Kobi Sharvit, director of the authority’s marine archeology unit.
“These conditions have attracted merchant ships through the ages, leaving behind rich archaeological finds,” he said.
“The Carmel Coast contains many natural coves that used to house ancient ships in stormy weather, and larger coves around which entire settlements and ancient port towns have developed.
“The discovery of ancient finds by swimmers and recreational divers has been a growing phenomenon in recent years, with the growing popularity of these sports.
“Even the smallest storm moves sand and reveals areas on the seabed, burying others. It is therefore extremely important to report such finds and we always try to document them in situ, in order to recover as much archaeological data as possible.
“Archaeological finds at the site show that it served as a small, temporary natural anchorage for ships seeking shelter. The identification of the various finds shows that the mooring was used as early as the Final Bronze Age, 4000 years ago.
“The recent discovery of the sword suggests that the natural cove was also in use during the Crusader era, around 900 years ago. “
IAA Director General Eli Escosido praised Katzin for handing over the sword, saying: “Every ancient artifact found helps us piece together the historical puzzle of the Land of Israel.
“Once the sword has been cleaned and researched in the laboratories of the Israel Antiquities Authority, we will ensure that it is on display to the public.