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Treasure trove discovered in ancient sunken cargo ship off Israel

You never know what you will discover at the bottom of the sea. Several divers recently found a treasure trove of coins, bronze statues, and some other artefacts in a shipwreck near the ancient Israeli port of Caesarea.

Example of a Roman ship anchor Photo Credit
Example of a Roman ship anchor Photo Credit

The divers sent word to the Israel Antiquities Authority of their discovery, leading to a broad dive that discovered a part of the sea floor had been cleared of sand, unveiling the remnants of a lost sailing ship and its iron anchors. Even more significantly, the cargo that had gone down with the ship was uncovered.

Among the artifacts the divers found were a bronze lamp portraying the sun god Sol, a statuette of the moon goddess known as Luna, a lamp with the picture of an African servant, pieces of three life-size bronze cat sculptures, a bronze faucet in the shape of a wild boar with a swan on its head, and pieces of huge jars that once held drinking water.

They also found 44 pounds of coins bearing the picture of Emperor Constantine, who reigned the Western Roman Empire in 312 to 324 AD, and was subsequently known as Constantine the Great.

Constantine the Great Photo Credit
Constantine the Great Photo Credit

A marine collection such as this has not been discovered in Israel for at least 30 years. Metal statues are uncommon archaeological discoveries because they were commonly melted down and recycled. When bronze artefacts are discovered, it normally happens at sea when the statues disappeared along with the ship, sinking underneath the water and therefore being rescued from the recycling procedure.

The statues were in outstandingly good condition, taking into consideration they had been at the bottom of the Mediterranean for more than a millennium.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News