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The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
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June 2016    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 42, No. 6   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Sport Divers Discover 4th Century Treasures

from the June, 2016 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

The Aswan dam has changed the nature of the Nile Delta, and far less sediment now gets deposited into the Mediterranean. Each time there is a storm, the existing sediment, including that along the coast of Israel, gets moved, often revealing archaeological finds.

During April, by pure chance, two Israeli sport divers discovered a 1,600-year-old shipwreck off the coast near Caesarea, leading to a salvage operation that has uncovered of one of the largest caches of valuable artifacts ever found. Among the treasures were a bronze lamp, a figurine of the moon goddess, Luna, a lamp in the image of the head of an African slave, a bronze faucet in the form of a wild boar and two lumps weighing around 45 pounds composed of thousands of coins that had retained the shape of the pottery vessel in which they had been transported. Some coins bear the image of the Roman emperor, Constantine, who ruled the Western Roman Empire during the 4th Century AD.

One diver, Ofer Raanan, said, "It took us a couple of seconds to understand what was going on," when recounting the moment the pair realized they had discovered something special. They left the first sculpture on the seabed when they found it, but then found a second, at which point they realized it was something special and brought both to the surface. They then searched the area and discovered more artifacts. "It was amazing. I dive here every other weekend, and I never found anything like that, ever," he said.

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