1600-Year-Old Cargo of a Roman Merchant Ship has been Discovered in Caesarea

1600-Year-Old Cargo of a Roman Merchant Ship has been Discovered in Caesarea

An underwater survey in the ancient port of Caesarea has uncovered thousands of coins and bronze statues dating to the 5th century AD.

The Greatest Catch

Two sports divers likely made their greatest catch in life when they made a fortuitous discovery of two Late Roman bronze statues in the ancient port of Caesarea.

As soon as they had surfaced divers Ran Feinstein and Ofer Ra‘anan

reported the finds to the Israel Antiquities Authority. During a joint dive, Ran and Ofer, guided marine archaeologists from the IIA to the location.

The seabead had been cleared of sand and a maze of iron anchors, moorings chains and debris were left exposed, being the remains of a ship.

The ship’s anchor as it was discovered in the sea. Photographic credit: The Marine Archaeology Unit of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

During the next weeks the IIA conducted an underwater salvage survey and in a relatively short time, they had recovered beautiful bronze statues, thousands of coins and other finds on the seabed dating to 5th century AD.

The treasure throw belonged to a Late Roman Merchant ships that sank in the harbor some 1600 years ago.

Wrecked by a Storm

Many of the artifacts are bronze and in an extraordinary state of preservation: a bronze lamp depicting the image of the sun god Sol, a figurine of the moon goddess Luna, a lamp in the image of the head of an African slave, fragments of three life-size bronze cast statues, objects fashioned in the shape of animals such as a whale, a bronze faucet in the form of a wild boar with a swan on its head.

Fragment of a bronze lamp decorated with the image of the moon god Luna, as discovered on the seabed. Photo: Ran Feinstein.

A lamp in the image of the head of an African slave. Photographic credit: Clara Amit, courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Fragment of a life-size head of a statue.

In addition, fragments of large jars were found that were used for carrying drinking water for the crew in the ship and for transportation at sea. One of the biggest surprises in particular was the discovery of two metallic lumps composed of thousands of coins weighing c. 20 kilograms which was in the form of the pottery vessel in which they were transported.

“These are extremely exciting finds, which apart from their extraordinary beauty, are of historical significance. The location and distribution of the ancient finds on the seabed indicate that a large merchant ship was carrying a cargo of metal slated recycling, which apparently encountered a storm at the entrance to the harbor and drifted until it smashed into the seawall and the rocks”, said Jacob Sharvit, director of the Marine Archaeology Unit of the IIA, and adds,

“A marine assemblage such as this has not been found in Israel in the past thirty years. Metal statues are rare archaeological finds because they were always melted down and recycled in antiquity. When we find bronze artifacts it usually occurs at sea. Because these statues were wrecked together with the ship, they sank in the water and were thus ‘saved’ from the recycling process”.

The rare bronze artifacts that were discovered in Caesarea.

Coins carrying the Image of Constantine

The coins that were discovered bear the image of the emperor Constantine who ruled the Western Roman Empire (312–324 AD) and was later known as Constantine the Great, ruler of the Roman Empire (324–337 AD), and of Licinius, an emperor who ruled the eastern part of the Roman Empire and was a rival of Constantine, until his downfall in a battle that was waged between the two rulers.

Lumps of coins that were discovered at sea, weighing a total of c. 20 kilograms.

The range of finds recovered from the sea reflects the large volume of trade and the status of Caesarea’s harbor during this time, which was known as period of economic and commercial stability in the wake of the stability of the Roman Empire- the period when Christianity was on its way to becoming the official religion of the Roman Empire.

It was at this time that Emperor Constantine put a halt to the policy of persecuting Christians, and the faithful in Caesarea, as well as elsewhere in the Roman Empire, were given the legitimacy to practice their belief through the famous Edict of Milan that proclaimed Christianity was no longer a banned religion. Later, Constantine recognized Christianity as the official state religion, and it was during his reign that the fundamentals of the religion were established.

While the new finds are being studied by the IIA, a cache of gold coins that was discovered water off of Caesarea in the winter of 2015 are already being displayed to the visiting public in the Caesarea harbor.

By Sam Bostrom

Featured image: A figurine of the sun god Sol as discovered on the seabed.


Found: A 1,600-Year-Old Shipwreck Full of Treasure

Earlier this spring, when two divers were exploring Caesarea National Park, off of Israel’s coast, not far south from Haifi, they noticed that the sand of the sea floor had shifted and revealed a shipwreck. What they found, the Israel Antiquities Authority says, is a trove of marine treasure “such as…has not been found in Israel in the past thirty years.”

The two recreational divers immediately reported their find to the IAA. When marine archaeologists examined the wreck, they found that it was 1,600 years old, dating back to the Late Roman period, and full of rare bronze artifacts and clumps of coins, still in the shape of the vessel that had carried them.

The ship had carried statues of Roman gods—the sun god, Sol, and the moon goddess, Luna—and other bronze statues. These were often melted down and recast, so it’s rare to find bronze statues from this period in such good condition. The lumps of coins contained thousands of pieces stamped with the head of Constantine. 

This would have been a merchant ship, one of many that traveled to Israel’s ports. The archaeologists think it met its fate after being caught in a storm and smashing against the shore the crew had cast anchors to stop the shift from drifting that close to land, but it went down, its cargo in tact and preserved on the sea floor until now.


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The treasure trove was discovered by accident by two amateur divers from Ra’anana, Ran Feinstein and Ofer Ra'anan, who were swimming in the ancient harbor before the Passover holiday last month. Upon emerging from the sea, they immediately contacted the Israel Antiquities Authority. Since then, the IAA’s marine archaeology unit has been conducting an underwater excavation of the site, in cooperation with the Rothschild Caesarea Foundation.

Among other finds, the cargo of the ship, which apparently sank in the latter years of the Roman Empire (27 B.C.E. – 476 C.E.), included a bronze lamp depicting the image of the Roman sun god Sol a figurine of the moon goddess Luna a lamp resembling the head of an African slave parts of three life-size bronze statues a bronze faucet in the form of a wild boar with a swan on its head and other objects in the shape of animals. Also unearthed were shards of large containers used for carrying drinking water for the ship's crew.

A diver removing one of the bronze sculptures at the Caesarea site. Apparently the artifacts were loaded on a Roman merchant ship that sunk some 1,600 years ago. Ran Feinstein

One of the biggest surprises was the discovery of two metallic lumps each composed of thousands of coins, in the shape of the ceramic vessel in which they were transported before they oxidized and became stuck together. The coins bear the images of the Constantine, who ruled the Western Roman Empire (312 – 324 C.E.) and was later known as Constantine the Great, ruler of the entire Roman Empire (324 – 337 C.E.), and of Licinius, a rival of Constantine's who ruled the eastern part of the empire and was slain in battle in the year 324 C.E.

According to Jacob Sharvit, director of the IAA's marine archaeology unit, and his deputy Dror Planer, “These are extremely exciting finds, which apart from their extraordinary beauty, are of historical significance. The location and distribution of the ancient artifacts on the seabed indicate that a large merchant ship was carrying a cargo of metal slated to be recycled, which apparently encountered a storm at the entrance to the harbor and drifted until it smashed into the seawall and the rocks.”

A preliminary study of the iron anchors unearthed at the site suggests that there was an attempt to stop the drifting vessel before it reached shore by casting them into the sea however, the anchors broke, which constitutes “evidence of the power of the waves and the wind in which the ship was caught up,” say the researchers.

The discovery comes just a year after a trove of over 2,000 gold coins, dating to the Fatimid era about 1,000 years ago, was found nearby by divers and IAA staff. The coins are currently on public display in the Caesarea marina.

“A marine assemblage such as this has not been found in Israel in the past 30 years," Sharvit and Planer explain. "Statues made of metallic materials are rare archaeological finds because they were always melted down and recycled in antiquity. When we find bronze artifacts it usually occurs at sea. Because these statues were wrecked together with the ship, they sank in the water and were thus ‘saved’ from the recycling process."

The archaeologists said the underwater treasures were discovered because of the diminishing amount of sand in the Caesarea harbor as a result of construction along the coastline south of the site, and due to the increased mining of sand – as well as the growing number of amateur divers in the area.

The IAA praised the two amateur divers for their good citizenship in reporting their find, and announced that they will accordingly be awarded certificates.

An anchor, believed to be part of a Roman merchant ship that sunk some 1,600 years ago, and discovered in 2016. Israel Antiquities Authority Clumps of thousands of coins in the shape of the ceramic vessel in which they were transported, before they oxidized and became stuck together. Clara Amit/IAA Jacob Sharvit, director of the Marine Archaeology Unit of the Israel Antiquities Authority, holds a bronze lamp depicting the image of a Roman sun god Sol Invictus, in Cesarea, May 16, 2016. Dan Balilty, AP Rare bronze artifacts, part of a large ancient marine cargo of a merchant ship that sank during the Late Roman, during a presentation of the Israel Antiquities Authority in Caesarea May 16, 2016. Dan Balilty, AP Jacob Sharvit, director of the Marine Archaeology Unit of the Israel Antiquities Authority, holds a part of a statue, after it was recovered from a merchant ship in Caesarea, May 16, 2016. Baz Ratner, Reuters


Roman Artefacts Discovered In 1,600-Year-Old Shipwreck In Caesarea, Israel

Incredibly well-preserved artefacts from the Roman era have discovered in the wreck of a ship which sank some 1,600 years ago.

Coins and fragments of life-size bronze statues have been found in an &ldquoamazing state&rdquo of preservation thanks to coatings of sand.

The remains of the vessel, thought to be a merchant ship carrying metal to be melted down and recycled, were discovered in the harbour of Caesarea in Israel.

It is thought that they had laid there untouched for centuries, before they were discovered by two divers last month.

One of the divers, Ofer Raanan, said: &ldquoI dive here every other weekend and I never found anything like that ever."

In a statement, Jacob Sharvit, director of the Marine Archaeology Unit of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) and Dror Planer, deputy director of the unit, said: &ldquoThese are extremely exciting finds, which apart from their extraordinary beauty, are of historical significance.

&ldquoThe location and distribution of the ancient finds on the seabed indicate that a large merchant ship was carrying a cargo of metal slated recycling, which apparently encountered a storm at the entrance to the harbour and drifted until it smashed into the seawall and the rocks.&rdquo

They added: &ldquoA marine assemblage such as this has not been found in Israel in the past thirty years.

&ldquoMetal statues are rare archaeological finds because they were always melted down and recycled in antiquity. When we find bronze artefacts it usually occurs at sea. Because these statues were wrecked together with the ship, they sank in the water and were thus &lsquosaved&rsquo from the recycling process.

&ldquoIn the many marine excavations that have been carried out in Caesarea only very small number of bronze statues have been found, whereas in the current cargo a wealth of spectacular statues were found that were in the city and were removed from it by way of sea.

&ldquoThe sand protected the statues consequently they are in an amazing state of preservation &ndash as though they were cast yesterday rather than 1,600 years ago&rdquo

The IAA said that the coins were found to bear the image of the emperor Constantine who ruled the Western Roman Empire (312&ndash324 CE) and was later known as Constantine the Great, ruler of the Roman Empire (324&ndash337 CE). Also appearing on the currency was Licinius, an emperor who ruled the eastern part of the Empire and was a rival of Constantine until he was defeated by him.

Sharvit and Planer added: "The range of finds recovered from the sea reflects the large volume of trade and the status of Caesarea&rsquos harbour during this time, which was known as period of economic and commercial stability in the wake of the stability of the Roman Empire.

&ldquoThe crew of the shipwreck lived in a fascinating time in history that greatly influenced humanity &ndash the period when Christianity was on its way to becoming the official religion of the Roman Empire. It was at this time that Emperor Constantine put a halt to the policy of persecuting Christians, and the faithful in Caesarea, as well as elsewhere in the Roman Empire, were given the legitimacy to practice their belief through the famous Edict of Milan that proclaimed Christianity was no longer a banned religion.&rdquo


Items, which the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) estimate to be around 1600 years old, are displayed after they were recovered from a merchant ship in the ancient harbor of the Caesarea National Park

CAESAREA, Israel (Reuters) - Archaeologists in Israel have recovered bronze statues and thousands of coins from a merchant ship that sank off the Mediterranean coast some 1,600 years ago during the late Roman period. The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) said two divers had made the discovery several weeks ago in the ancient harbor of Caesarea in the eastern Mediterranean. Successive dives recovered a haul including a bronze lamp depicting the image of sun god Sol, a figure of moon goddess Luna, fragments of life-size bronze cast statues as well as two lumps of thousands of coins. The IAA said the remains of a ship were "left uncovered on the sea bottom" and included iron anchors and fragments of jars used for drinking water by the crew. The haul's location and distribution suggested the "large merchant ship was carrying a cargo of metal slated (for) recycling". "A marine assemblage such as this has not been found in Israel in the past 30 years," Jacob Sharvit and Dror Planer of the IAA's Marine Archaeology Unit said in a statement. "Metal statues are rare archaeological finds because they were always melted down and recycled in antiquity." The IAA said the vessel had probably hit a storm as it entered the harbor and had drifted before hitting rocks and the seawall. The IAA said the range of items reflected a "period of economic and commercial stability" in the late Roman Empire. It said past marine excavations in Caesarea had uncovered a small number of bronze statues but this haul was much bigger and the sand-protected statues were in "an amazing state" of preservation. Last year divers found a haul of 1,000-year-old gold coins inscribed in Arabic on the sea bed off Israel. (Reporting By Reuters Pictures Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian Editing by Gareth Jones)

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Roman trash is today's treasure: Israeli divers find 1600-year-old ancient cargo saved by shipwreck

The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) said two divers had made the discovery - including a wealth of spectacular statues - several weeks ago in the ancient harbour of Caesarea in the eastern Mediterranean.

Successive dives recovered the haul, which included a bronze lamp depicting the image of sun god Sol, a figure of moon goddess Luna, fragments of life-size bronze cast statues as well as two lumps of thousands of coins.

Israeli archeologists say it is the country's biggest discovery of Roman-era artefacts in more than 30 years.

Israeli divers uncovered the largest stash of Roman coins and bronze statues in 30 years. Credit: Israeli Antiquities Authority

Buried in sand, the bronze statues looked like they were cast yesterday, said experts.

"The sand protected the statues consequently they are in an amazing state of preservation – as though they were cast yesterday rather than 1600 years ago," said Jacob Sharvit, director of the Marine Archaeology Unit of the Israel Antiquities Authority and Dror Planer, deputy director of the unit, in a statement.

The IAA said the remains of a ship were "left uncovered on the sea bottom" and included iron anchors and fragments of jars used for drinking water by the crew.

The haul's location and distribution suggested the "large merchant ship was carrying a cargo of metal slated (for) recycling".

Jacob Sharvit, director of the Marine Archaeology Unit of the Israel Antiquities Authority, holds a bronze lamp depicting the image of a Roman sun god Sol Invictus, in Cesarea, Israel. Credit: AP

"A marine assemblage such as this has not been found in Israel in the past 30 years," he said.

"Metal statues are rare archaeological finds because they were always melted down and recycled in antiquity.

A rare Roman bronze statue preserved in sand for 1600 years. Credit: Israeli Antiquities Authority

"When we find bronze artefacts it usually occurs at sea. Because these statues were wrecked together with the ship, they sank in the water and were thus 'saved' from the recycling process."

The IAA said the vessel had probably hit a storm as it entered the harbour and had drifted before hitting rocks and the seawall.

Israeli archaeologists say two divers have made the country's biggest discovery of Roman-era artifacts in three decades. Credit: AP

Because these statues were wrecked together with the ship, they sank in the water and were thus 'saved' from the recycling process.

Jacob Sharvit, Israeli

The items reflected a "period of economic and commercial stability" in the late Roman Empire.

Past marine excavations in Caesarea had uncovered a small number of bronze statues but this haul was much bigger and the sand-protected statues were in "an amazing state" of preservation.

Rare bronze artifacts, part of a large ancient marine cargo of a merchant ship that sank during the Late Roman period 1600 years ago are seen during a presentation of the Israel Antiquities Authority in Caesarea, Israel. Credit: AP

Only a very few number of bronze statues had been found during previous marine excavations they said.

But the current cargo contained a wealth of spectacular statues and coins.

The coins bear the image of the emperor Constantine who ruled the Western Roman Empire (312–324 CE) and was later known as Constantine the Great, ruler of the Roman Empire (324–337 CE), and of Licinius, an emperor who ruled the eastern part of the Roman Empire and was a rival of Constantine, until his downfall in a battle that was waged between the two rulers

According to Sharvit and Planer: "the range of finds recovered from the sea reflects the large volume of trade and the status of Caesarea's harbor during this time, which was known as period of economic and commercial stability in the wake of the stability of the Roman Empire."

Last year divers found a haul of 1000-year-old gold coins inscribed in Arabic on the sea bed off Israel.


Divers find 1,600-year-old Roman shipwreck, treasures off of Israel's coast (w/video)

For Ran Feinstein and Ofer Ra'anan, two friends on a diving trip off of the Israeli coast, what began as a typical Mediterranean excursion took a stunning turn.

The two men spied a castaway sculpture sitting amid the rocks and silt on the seabed. This was no average oceanic detritus. The figure, it started to dawn on the divers, must have been ancient. Indeed, according to the archaeologists, it's part of the largest cache of Roman objects to be found in Israel in 30 years.

"It took us a couple of seconds to understand what was going on," Ra'anan told the Associated Press. The duo realized the sculpture wasn't alone — this spot was rife with old items. They had found the remnants of a Roman merchant ship, lost at sea some 1,600 years ago near Caesarea, a harbor city perched on the Israeli coast roughly 30 miles north of Tel Aviv.

Recognizing the artifacts belonged in a museum, or were at the very least covered by Israel's Law of Antiquities , the divers contacted the state-run Antiquities Authority. When the government archaeologists arrived at the site, what they beheld almost defied belief: a bronze lamp featuring Sol, the sun deity several iron anchors a statue of moon goddess Luna jugs for drinking freshwater at sea a whale figurine and an item the Antiquities Authority described in a news release as a "bronze faucet in the form of a wild boar with a swan on its head."

Perhaps the most surprising finds are two large masses of metal, thousands of coins clotted together in the ceramic jars that once held them. The 1,600-year-old coin clusters tip the scales at about 44 pounds. Based on the coins, the archaeologists have a rough idea of when the merchant ship sank. It was a time when the Roman Empire was on the cusp of Christianity. Some coins bear the visage of Constantine the Great, the ruler of the western half the Roman Empire who converted it into a new, holier-than-before version in the early 4th century. Other coins show Licinius, whom the Israel Antiquities Authority describes as Constantine's rival Roman ruler to the east, who reigned from A.D. 324 to 337.

During the excavations over the past few weeks, the Israeli archaeologists have pieced together a scene of an ancient scramble to survive tumultuous seas. "The location and distribution of the ancient finds on the seabed indicate that a large merchant ship was carrying a cargo of metal slated for recycling, which apparently encountered a storm at the entrance to the harbor and drifted until it smashed into the seawall and the rocks," Jacob Sharvit and Dror Planer, directors of Israel Antiquities Authority's Marine Archaeology Unit, said in a statement. The researchers think the Roman sailors attempted to anchor themselves, because the distance between the iron anchors and the other objects. But the anchor lines snapped, and the ship was dashed against the rocks.

The find is remarkable for two reasons, the archaeologists say. First, the objects are well-preserved and were only recently exposed on the ocean floor. Covered in a layer of sand, the figures and coins show little evidence of the nearly 2,000 years that have passed. And second, because the Romans frequently melted down metal statues to recast them anew, few such figures exist today.

The accident was, ultimately, the artifacts' salvation. "Because these statues were wrecked together with the ship," Sharvit and Dror said, "they sank in the water and were thus 'saved' from the recycling process."


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The IAA said the remains of a ship were "left uncovered on the sea bottom" and included iron anchors and fragments of jars used for drinking water by the crew. The haul's location and distribution suggested the "large merchant ship was carrying a cargo of metal slated (for) recycling".

"A marine assemblage such as this has not been found in Israel in the past 30 years," Jacob Sharvit and Dror Planer of the IAA's Marine Archaeology Unit said in a statement. "Metal statues are rare archaeological finds because they were always melted down and recycled in antiquity."

The IAA said the vessel had probably hit a storm as it entered the harbour and had drifted before hitting rocks and the seawall.

The IAA said the range of items reflected a "period of economic and commercial stability" in the late Roman Empire. It said past marine excavations in Caesarea had uncovered a small number of bronze statues but this haul was much bigger and the sand-protected statues were in "an amazing state" of preservation.

Last year divers found a haul of 1,000-year-old gold coins inscribed in Arabic on the sea bed off Israel.

Join ST's Telegram channel here and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.


Spectacular cargo of ancient shipwreck found in Caesarea

A fortuitous discovery by two divers in the ancient port of Caesarea in the Caesarea National Park before the Passover holiday led to the exposure of a large, spectacular and beautiful ancient marine cargo of a merchant ship that sank during the Late Roman period 1,600 years ago.

As soon as they emerged from the water divers Ran Feinstein and Ofer Ra‘anan of Ra‘anana contacted the Israel Antiquities Authority and reported the discovery and removal of several ancient items from the sea.

A joint dive at the site together with IAA archaeologists revealed that an extensive portion of the seabed had been cleared of sand and the remains of a ship were left uncovered on the sea bottom: iron anchors, remains of wooden anchors and items that were used in the construction and running of the sailing vessel. An underwater salvage survey conducted in recent weeks with the assistance of many divers from the Israel Antiquities Authority and volunteers using advanced equipment discovered numerous items that were part of the ship’s cargo.

Many of the artifacts are bronze and in an extraordinary state of preservation: a bronze lamp depicting the image of the sun god Sol, a figurine of the moon goddess Luna, a lamp in the image of the head of an African slave, fragments of three life-size bronze cast statues, objects fashioned in the shape of animals such as a whale, a bronze faucet in the form of a wild boar with a swan on its head, etc.

In addition, fragments of large jars were found that were used for carrying drinking water for the crew in the ship and for transportation at sea. One of the biggest surprises in particular was the discovery of two metallic lumps composed of thousands of coins weighing c. 20 kilograms which was in the form of the pottery vessel in which they were transported.

This discovery comes a year after the exposure of a treasure of gold Fatimid coins by divers and the Israel Antiquities Authority, which is currently on display for the public in the “Time Travel” presentations in the Caesarea harbor.

According to Jacob Sharvit, director of the Marine Archaeology Unit of the Israel Antiquities Authority and Dror Planer, deputy director of the unit, “These are extremely exciting finds, which apart from their extraordinary beauty, are of historical significance. The location and distribution of the ancient finds on the seabed indicate that a large merchant ship was carrying a cargo of metal slated recycling, which apparently encountered a storm at the entrance to the harbor and drifted until it smashed into the seawall and the rocks”.

A preliminary study of the iron anchors suggests there was an attempt to stop the drifting vessel before it reached shore by casting anchors into the sea however, these broke – evidence of the power of the waves and the wind which the ship was caught up in”. Sharvit and Planer stress, “A marine assemblage such as this has not been found in Israel in the past thirty years. Metal statues are rare archaeological finds because they were always melted down and recycled in antiquity.

When we find bronze artifacts it usually occurs at sea. Because these statues were wrecked together with the ship, they sank in the water and were thus ‘saved’ from the recycling process”. Sharvit and Planer added, “In the many marine excavations that have been carried out in Caesarea only very small number of bronze statues have been found, whereas in the current cargo a wealth of spectacular statues were found that were in the city and were removed from it by way of sea.

The sand protected the statues consequently they are in an amazing state of preservation – as though they were cast yesterday rather than 1,600 years ago”. The coins that were discovered bear the image of the emperor Constantine who ruled the Western Roman Empire (312–324 CE) and was later known as Constantine the Great, ruler of the Roman Empire (324–337 CE), and of Licinius, an emperor who ruled the eastern part of the Roman Empire and was a rival of Constantine, until his downfall in a battle that was waged between the two rulers.

According to Sharvit, “In recent years we have witnessed many random discoveries in the harbor at Caesarea. These finds are the result of two major factors: a lack of sand on the seabed causing the exposure of ancient artifacts, and an increase in the number of divers at the site. In this particular instance, the divers demonstrated good citizenship and are deserving of praise.

They will be awarded a certificate of appreciation and invited to tour the storerooms of the National Treasures. By reporting the discovery of the marine assemblage to the Israel Antiquities Authority they have made it possible for all of us to enjoy these spectacular remains from antiquity. The public should be aware that it must report any artifacts it finds immediately to the Marine Archaeology Unit of the Israel Antiquities Authority in order to maximize our archaeological knowledge about the site”.

While the new finds are still undergoing conservation treatment and are being studied by the Israel Antiquities Authority, the cache of gold coins that was discovered in the water off of Caesarea in the winter of 2015 is already being displayed to the visiting public in the Caesarea harbor as part of the experiential presentation entitled “Time Travel”.

The director-general of the Caesarea Development Corporation, Mr. Michael Kersenti, notes that the recent discoveries reiterate the uniqueness of Caesarea as an ancient port city with a history and cultural heritage that continues to surprise us, when other parts of the mysteries of its past are revealed in the sea and on land. The goal is to present as many of the cultural treasures as possible, including those that will be discovered in the future, to the numerous visitors who come to Caesarea each year.

Additional Historical Background:

According Sharvit and Planer, “The range of finds recovered from the sea reflects the large volume of trade and the status of Caesarea’s harbor during this time, which was known as period of economic and commercial stability in the wake of the stability of the Roman Empire.

The crew of the shipwreck lived in a fascinating time in history that greatly influenced humanity – the period when Christianity was on its way to becoming the official religion of the Roman Empire.

It was at this time that Emperor Constantine put a halt to the policy of persecuting Christians, and the faithful in Caesarea, as well as elsewhere in the Roman Empire, were given the legitimacy to practice their belief through the famous Edict of Milan that proclaimed Christianity was no longer a banned religion. Later, Christianity was recognized as the official state religion, and it was during Constantine’s reign that the fundamentals of the religion were established.


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