Pieces from different eras recovered from shipwrecks off the Israeli coast

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A marine archaeological investigation by the Israel Antiquities Authority off the coast of Caesarea has recovered the treasure from two ancient wrecks, including hundreds of silver coins, figurines and a gold ring engraved with the figure of the Good Shepherd, a well-known symbol of Jesus in early Christianity art.

According to the Israel Antiquities Authority’s Marine Archeology Unit, “The findings reveal the story of two ships that sank with all hands at different times, apparently while attempting to maneuver the ships. to the port.

The findings were announced at the end of December.

A number of artifacts from the wrecks of two ships that sank off the coast of Caesarea, one in Roman times, the other in Mamluk times (around 1,700 and 600 years ago, respectively) were recovered in recent months near Caesarea, during an underwater study conducted by the Marine Archeology Unit of the Israel Antiquities Authority. The cargoes of the two ships and the remains of their wrecked hulls were found scattered on the seabed in shallow water, at a depth of about 4 meters.

According to Jacob Sharvit and Dror Planer of the Israel Antiquities Authority’s Marine Archeology Unit, “The ships were probably anchored nearby and were wrecked by a storm. They may have been anchored offshore after encountering difficulty or fearing stormy weather, as sailors are well aware that mooring in shallow, open water outside a harbor is dangerous and prone to disaster.

Other treasures

The marine treasure includes hundreds of Roman silver and bronze coins from the mid-3rd century AD.

Also included are figurines, metal parts of a wooden ship’s hull, and a large iron anchor shattered into pieces, attesting to the strength it withstood before finally shattering, possibly during the storm that swept through it. sunk the associated vessel.

The underwater remains include rare personal effects of the victims of the shipwreck. Among these, a beautiful red precious stone to be set in a “gemma” ring; the gemstone carving shows a lyre.

Another rare find is a thick, octagonal gold ring set with a green gemstone carved with the figure of a young shepherd wearing a tunic and carrying a ram or sheep on his shoulders. The image, of the “Good Shepherd,” is one of the oldest and oldest images used in Christianity to symbolize Jesus, notes the IAA.

He represents Jesus as the compassionate Shepherd of mankind, extending his benevolence to his flock of believers and to all mankind, the IAA said.

The ring was discovered near the port of Caesarea, a site of great importance in Christian tradition. Caesarea was one of the first centers of Christianity and was home to one of the first Christian communities.

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