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Scuba Diver Finds 900-Year-Old Crusader Sword

The three-foot sword was uncovered after the area's sands shifted.
By Melissa Smith | Updated On October 29, 2021
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Scuba Diver Finds 900-Year-Old Crusader Sword

Crusade sword

Diver Shlomi Katzin examines the sword shortly after discovering it.

Shlomi Katzin

A scuba diver off the coast of Israel recently stumbled upon a bed of artifacts from the Crusader period, which included a three-foot-long knight’s sword.

The diver, Shlomi Katzin of Atlit in Northern Israel, was diving in an area of the Carmel Coast that had seen thousands of boats sail through over thousands of years. Along with the sword, he found various relics including pieces of pottery and anchors made of stone and metal — all dating back between the 11th and 13th centuries.

The artifacts had been uncovered after sands in the area had recently shifted in the area, which archaeologists say is common.

“Underwater surveying is dynamic,” Kobi Sharvit, director of the Israel Antiquities Authority’s Marine Archaeology Unit (IAA), tells the Jerusalem Post. “Even the smallest storm moves the sand and reveals areas on the seabed, meanwhile burying others. It is therefore vitally important to report any such finds and we always try to document them in situ, in order to retrieve as much archaeological data as possible.”

Katzin, fearing further shifts in the sand would cover the relics back up, took them to the surface and contacted the IAA.

“The sword, which has been preserved in perfect condition, is a beautiful and rare find and evidently belonged to a Crusader knight,” IAA’s Robbery Prevention Unit Inspector Nir Distelfeld tells the Post. “It was found encrusted with marine organisms but is 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, armor and swords.”


The sword was discovered about 15 feet deep off Israel's Mediterranean coast.

Anastasia Shapiro, Israel Antiquities Authority

Although it’s near impossible to know the identity of the Crusader who fought with this sword, Sharvit says the night would have to have been exceptionally strong to wield it wearing a full suit of armor.

The IAA was already aware of the richness of the site the sword was found at. Numerous shipwrecks have been found along this stretch of coastline over the years, and just two months earlier, a bundle of 1,700-year-old coins washed up on a beach near Atlit.

Previous discoveries show that as far back as 4,000 years ago, during the Late Bronze Age, this area was used as a place for ships to anchor short-term.

“The Carmel Coast contains many natural coves that provided shelter for ancient ships in a storm, and larger coves around which entire settlements and ancient port cities developed, such as Dor and Atlit,” Sharvit says. “These conditions have attracted merchant ships down the ages, leaving behind rich archaeological finds. The recently recovered sword is just one such find.”

The Antiquities Authority plans to clean up the sword and analyze it before displaying it publicly.

Man holding sword

Nir Distelfeld, inspector for the Israel Antiquities Authority, holds the Crusader sword.

Anastasia Shapiro, Israel Antiquities Authority