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Two Israeli divers find an ancient shipwreck full of treasures

Ian Harvey
Picture: Israel Antiquities Authority.

There are so many shipwrecks at the bottom of the oceans that experts have a difficult time keeping track of them. Certain ships have been lying in the bottom of the ocean for centuries; it takes specially trained divers to carefully excavate these ships to find out whether or not they contain hidden treasures.

One shipwreck that was recently found just off of Israel’s coast was identified as one of the biggest shipwrecks containing Roman-era artifacts for discovered in the last three decades.

After further analysis and excavations, the priceless finds were showcased for the public to view.

The treasure was found just last month by two divers named Ran Feinstein and Ofer Raanan. They had come across the shipwreck near the port of Caesarea. In their interview, the two friends talked about when they first realized what they had discovered. They talked about the moment they realized that they had just found one of the richest, oldest Roman shipwrecks to date.

Raanan told reporters that it had taken him a few seconds to realize what they had just found and what was going on. He added that they had left the first sculpture on the seabed since they believed it was the only one on the wreckage. Taking it would have resulted in a possible fine.

However, after they discovered there was more than one sculpture, the realization set in that they had just found a history-rich shipwreck. After finding two sculptures on the wreckage, they began searching the rest of the ship to make sure they hadn’t missed any others. It was only then that they realized they would find dozens of artifacts.

Raanan explained that it was an amazing find. He and his friend dive in the area almost every other week and hadn’t discovered anything significant. After reporting their find, the men had the Israel Antiquities Authority come to the site to investigate the shipwreck and recover all of the precious treasures and cargo.

Some of the treasure included bronze statues, lamps, jars, animal-shaped objects, anchors, and thousands of coins. On the coins, there were images of Roman emperors Constantine and Licinius.

The director of marine archaeology, Jacob Sharvi, said some of the objects found had been dated to the 4th century, and others had been dated as early as the 1st and 2nd centuries.

Sharvit said that it was possible that the ship sank when the crew and captain had encountered a storm. The sailors ended up dropping the anchors in an attempt to save the ship. however, all of their desperate efforts failed. The ship ended up sinking, taking all of its precious cargo under water. It remained in there for over 1,000 years.

The port at Caesarea had been commission by Herod the Great during the 1st century BC. The port ended up being an important economic area in the Mediterranean Sea until it sank due to unknown reasons soon after it was completed.

Some scientists believe that it was simply located on a geological fault line and was built in a terrible spot. Other experts believe that it may have sunk due to a tsunami in the area.

For a project that started in the 1960s, Israeli archaeologists brought the sunken port back to life. They had even brought up Caesarea’s beautiful above-ground wonders. These wonders included a crusader church and even a Roman theater. Lead image Picture: Israel Antiquities Authority.

The treasure found at the port and the ones recently found in the shipwreck are open for the public to view as a part of the Caesarea National Park.

Just last year, Israeli divers had found 2,000 gold coins in Caesarea which dated back to the 10th century. These finds prove that the area is not only rich with history but also rich with these ancient artifacts. Hopefully divers and archaeologists alike will continue to discover these amazing riches. It will not only keep the public on its toes, but it will allow experts to fill in the missing pieces of the history of the area.