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Massive Treasure From a Roman Shipwreck 1,600 Years Ago Found

Two divers have likely discovered the greatest find in their life. The discovery includes statues and thousands of coins from a merchant ship that sank during the Late Roman period over a thousand years ago.

The two divers, Ran Feinstein and Ofer Ra‘anan, were diving in the waters around the ancient harbor in the Caesarea National Park. After finding two Late Roman bronze statues, the divers reported the finds to the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA).

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Rare bronze artifacts, part of a large ancient marine cargo of a merchant ship that sank during the Late Roman period 1,600 years ago. (Image: Screenshot/YouTube)

A joint dive was then conducted with IAA archaeologists, where an extensive portion of the seabed had been cleared of sand. What was reviled were the remains of a ship, iron anchors, wooden anchors, and items that were used in the construction and running of the sailing vessel, IAA wrote in a press release. Officials said that:

Among the finds there was 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.

Massive Treasure From a Roman Shipwreck 1,600 Years Ago Found

Rare bronze artifacts, part of a large ancient marine cargo of a merchant ship that sank during the Late Roman period 1,600 years ago. (Image: Screenshot/YouTube)

One of the more surprising finds was two metallic lumps of thousands of coins weighing 44lbs (20 kg). The bronze statues and coins have been dated to the 5th century A.D. Jacob Sharvit, director of the Marine Archaeology Unit of the Israel Antiquities Authority, said:

The coins have the image of two emperors; the emperor Constantine who ruled the Western Roman Empire (312–324 CE) and later became known as Constantine the Great, ruler of the Roman Empire (324–337 CE). The other emperor was Licinius, an emperor who ruled the eastern part of the Roman Empire, who was a rival of Constantine.

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One of the metallic lumps of thousands of coins weighing 44lbs (20 kg) the coins have been dated to the 5th century AD. (Image: Screenshot/YouTube)

The discovery reveals the high volume of trade and the status of Caesarea’s harbor 1,600 years ago, Sharvit said, which was known as a period of economic and commercial stability. The shipwreck happened at a “fascinating time in history” in which Christianity was on its way to becoming the official religion of the Roman Empire, Sharvit added.

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