A recreational diver has discovered a Crusader knight's sword off a Mediterranean beach in Israel.
The finder was Shlomi Katzin from Atlit, a coastal town south of Haifa. In the 13th century it had been a Crusader fortress village called Chateau Pelerin, and fell to the Mamluk sultanate in 1291.
Diving off Carmel Beach, Katzin noticed the 1m-long iron sword with 30cm hilt, encrusted in marine organisms, on the sandy seabed.
It is thought to have been recently uncovered by wave or current action. Fearing that it might be buried again or stolen, he brought it up and reported his find to the Israel Antiquities Authority robbery prevention unit.
Anchors and pottery fragments were also found by archaeologists near the weapon site. “The sword, which was kept in perfect condition, is a beautiful and rare find, and it seems to belong to a Crusader knight,” said the unit’s supervisor Nir Distalfeld.
“It's exciting to encounter such a personal object, that takes you in your imagination 900 years back in time to another period, of knights, armour and swords.”
The Crusades were undertaken by Christian countries including England and France between the 11th and 13th centuries in a bid to win control of the Holy Land.