Amateur diver pulls Crusader sword out of the seabed near Haifa

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Amateur diver pulls Crusader sword out of the seabed near Haifa

The weapon is encrusted with marine organisms, but experts are confident that a metre-long blade, hilt and handle will emerge once cleaned up

Michael Daventry is foreign editor of Jewish News

This is a Crusader’s sword found in the sea off the coast of Haifa.

Almost a millennium ago after he would have set sail for the Holy Land, the weapon was recovered from the Mediterranean seabed thanks to a sharp-eyed amateur diver.

The Israel Antiquities Authority said on Monday that although it was encrusted with marine organisms, the metre-long blade, hilt and handle were distinctive to notice.

It appears it was spotted after undercurrents shifted sands on the seabed that were concealing it.

Yaakov Sharvit from the Israel Antiquities Authority

The location, a natural cove near the port city of Haifa, suggests it had served as a shelter for seafarers, said Yaakov Sharvit, director of the authority’s marine archaeology unit.

“Actually it’s heavy”, Sharvit said while holding the sword and talking about the Crusader knight who had probably fought with it.

“I’m trying to imagine him on the field with all the armour on him and the sword and fighting with it. He should really be in good fitness, maybe they were bigger than us today but definitely stronger. And it’s amazing.”

The sword, believed to be some 900 years old, will be put on display after it is cleaned and restored, the authority said.

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