900-Year-Old Crusader Sword Found Covered in Barnacles Off Israel Coast

Fish off the Carmel coast of western Israel might have been alarmed to see a scuba diver walking through the water, holding a large, barnacle-encrusted blade.
Shlomi Katzin, a hobby diver, had just discovered a treasure trove of artifacts dating back to the area's bloody crusader periods on the Mediterranean Sea floor. The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), released a statement Monday, Oct. 18.

According to the IAA, the sword was approximately 3.3 feet in length and a hilt of 1 foot (30 cmimeters) long.

As diver Katzin discovered it, the sword. (Shlomi Katzin)

Similar: 25 Most Mysterious Archaeological Finds on Earth

Nir Distelfeld (Inspector for the Israel Antiquities Authority’s Robbery Prevention Unit) stated in the statement that the sword was in "a beautiful and rare condition and evidently belonged a Crusader Knight".

"It's exciting to meet such a personal object. It takes you back in time 900 years to a different age with knights, armor, and swords.

The blade with barnacles. (Shlomi Katzin)

Katzin found a variety of metal anchors and stone fragments near the spot where the sword was discovered.

According to the IAA, archaeological evidence in the area suggests that the cove was once used as an anchorage for ships seeking shelter. It has been there since at least the Late Bronze Age, which is approximately 4,000 years ago.

Although there are many artifacts that line the seabed of the Mediterranean, it is not uncommon for discoveries to be made in the Mediterranean due to the constant movement and water/sand.

Kobi Sharvit (Director of the IAA Marine Archaeology Unit) stated, "Even the smallest storm can move the sand and reveal areas on the seabed, while burying others."

"It is vitally important that such finds are reported and we try to document them in situ in order to recover as much archaeological data as possible."

Nir Distelfeld holding the Crusader sword. (Anastasia Shapiro/Israel Antiquities Authority).

Katzin received a certificate after bringing the IAA's attention to the matter (and not adding the medieval sword to his trophy shelf). After a thorough examination, the IAA stated that the sword would be displayed in public.

From 1095 to 1291, the Crusades lasted. Many knights from Europe traveled to the Holy Land during this period on a church-approved mission to reclaim the land from Muslim rulers. In the Middle East, grisly-shaped archaeological finds from this period are frequently discovered.

Similar Content:

Photos: Parasite eggs discovered in a 500-year-old Jerusalem latrine

Cracking the codex: 10 of the most intriguing ancient manuscripts

Image gallery: Medieval art tells an interesting story

Live Science originally published this article. You can read the original article here.