Israeli Scuba Diver Finds 900-Year Old Crusader Sword

An Israeli scuba diver found a sword thought to date to the time period of the Crusades off of the coast of Northern Israel earlier this month, in a rare find of a medieval weapon reportedly in “perfect condition.”

The weapon was found near Atlit Castle, a crusader fortress built near the medieval city of Acre and the modern-day Israeli city of Haifa, in an area close to the Lebanese border. Atlit Castle was built by the Knights Templar order in AD 1218, in the years following the Fifth Crusade, when the Holy Land was controlled by the Kingdom of Jerusalem. The crusader fortress was evacuated in 1291 as the Crusader states withered away, and the weapon in question may have been discarded or lost as Christians left the fortress by sea.

A scuba diver encountered the weapon on the seabed- near iron and stone anchors, with the medieval items seemingly revealed by shifting sea currents that moved sand burying them on the sea floor.

The sword is encrusted in marine organisms, but experts are indicating it’s been exceptionally well preserved underneath on account of being buried in sand for nearly ten centuries. The weapon is made of iron, and its size and shape may suggest it belonged to a knight of the Templar or Hospitaller orders.

Nir Distelfeld, Inspector for the IAA’s Robbery Prevention Unit, described the find as a uniquely preserved item, with the Israel Antiquities Authority planning to restore the weapon for public display.

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.

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