Stories of sunken treasure have, historically, been relatively exaggerated. Much of the value and wealth the ocean is hiding from us is partially down there because of our own mistakes.

There are many sunken ships from modern wars, and sunken ships from unfortunate disasters, as well as a vast amount of cargo resulting from those catastrophes that lead many adventure-minded people to want to strap on a snorkel and swim to fortune.

However, much of the genuinely ancient treasures aren’t found way out scraping the bottom of the seabed. Many are much closer to the shore, buried not under miles of water but as little as a few feet of sand.

One such discovery was made very recently, and such discoveries happen constantly. A sword dating back 900 years or more was found just off the coast of Israel and is connected to the last of the Crusades.

Its discovery wasn’t an epic of adventure or a brave fight against all kinds of marine life and oceanic riptides.

It was found during a leisurely afternoon scuba dive in relatively peaceful waters by a simple, amateur diver who just thought he saw something that looked neat.





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10 /10 Diving For Treasure






Shlomi Katzin was the diver who made the unexpected historical discovery.

He went scuba diving just off Israel’s Carmel coast, south of Haifa, and was swimming around when he noticed a sword-shaped growth of marine life and debris sticking out of the sand.

He dislodged it, brought it to the surface, and discovered it wasn’t just a cross-like growth of barnacles; underneath was a preserved iron sword.

Shlomi Katzin


9 /10 Trove In The Sands



The blade was not alone on the sandy shore. Katzin also discovered a small trove of other preserved treasures, including pottery and old ship anchors that were part of the cargo of old boats from the medieval period.

The sword was the most whole and consistent piece of treasure among the collection that he discovered.




8 /10 Cove Of Plenty

The region where he found the treasures has many natural coves along the rocky shoreline, perfect places for armies to take shelter from storms or prepare to disembark on a long trip home with hulls filled with stolen treasures from the then Arabian controlled Holy Land.

Setting out too early may have shifted the ship’s contents too much, causing a treasure leak to spill out into the water as the old Crusaders set out for their homeland. Their losses became modern finds.

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7 /10 About The Crusades

The Crusades were military attempts of the Christian Empire of Europe to take claim over the Holy Land of Jerusalem in modern-day Israel, which was controlled by the Arabian forces native to the area, and throughout was left as a tentative homeland of the Jewish people.

Their claim was not enforced for many centuries afterward.

To take the Holy Land back after Saladin and his armies conquered it, the Third Crusade failed, but there was still much plundering of the enemy citadels between trips of the missionary armies.

Israel Antiquities Authority

6 /10 Antique Reward Show

The sword, like many other such artifacts, is priceless for its historical heritage.

Katzin took it to shore with him, fearing it would be lost to the sands or stolen by someone more opportunistic than he, and reported it to the Israel Antiques Authority.

He did not request any compensation but was rewarded with a certificate of appreciation for “good citizenship.”

5 /10 Familiar Findings

This was not a standalone discovery at the site or along the coastline. Many such findings have led back over 4,000 years to the bronze age, where the coves and sea caverns were used as shelters and secret harbors for many ships throughout history. Similar treasures belonging to older groups engaging in trade or warfare were also found. What leads the region to be so rife with treasure is the shifting sands, which can reveal enough to let the prizes reach or obscuring enough to make it seem like nothing is there at all.

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4 /10 Dead Sea Scrolls

One of the most well-known and famous Israeli relics is the Dead Sea Scrolls, named after the inland sea region where they were initially found.

These have been found and collected for hundreds of years and include parts of the Bible and other historical texts that have otherwise been lost to time, including segments of the Bible that have been since written out as “lost” and “irrecoverable” despite references made to them in later, more available parts.

3 /10 Fighting For History

It’s arguable as to who the relic belongs to. On the one hand, it was found within Israel’s boundaries and was lost on their land; it’s simple finders keepers.

But the sword was made for someone, most likely from France where the Third Crusades originated and was commissioned as a status symbol for the knight who owned it.

Swords of that era were expensive and marked the men who held them as leaders and noble fighters and weren’t necessarily made for battle.

The fact that it’s held together with a solid crust of beach life on it is a testament to its craftsmanship.

2 /10 How To Find It

It’s appropriately caked and deep-fried with sea life, though imaging technology has revealed a solid blade still exists beneath.

The Israel Antiquities Authority intends to properly clean and restore the edge as much as possible after determining how likely it will be to clean it off.

It is currently on display at the Mediterranean seaport in Cesarea and may be moved to a different museum once it has been adequately cared for.

1 /10 Mediterranean Marvels

Plenty more treasures still await in the depths and shallows of the sea.

The Mediterranean was one of the hubs of trade in the ancient world, the main outlet of the cradle of civilization where thousands of years of history occurred.

There are likely far more treasures still undiscovered, discarded on accident, or lost in tragic wrecks from wars, and all it takes to find them is one person with a snorkel and an afternoon to kill.

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