Ancient treasure, including Christian golden ring, found off coast of Caesarea

i24NEWS

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The underwater discovery of the ancient coins near Caesarea, during an underwater survey, December 2021.
Israel Antiquities Authority Marine Archaeology UnitThe underwater discovery of the ancient coins near Caesarea, during an underwater survey, December 2021.

More recent ship was carrying a treasure of about 560 coins from the Mamluk era

The Israel Antiquities Authority on Wednesday announced that marine archaeologists found treasures from two ancient ships dating back to the third and fourteenth centuries CE. 

The two ships wrecked in the same place near the coast of Caesarea.

The treasures include hundreds of silver coins and precious gemstones with a lyre carved on the surface, bronze bells and a gold ring bearing the "Good Shepherd" symbol dating back to the beginning of Christianity.

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"The ships were probably anchored nearby and were wrecked by a storm," according to Jacob Sharvit and Dror Planer of the Israel Antiquities Authority’s Marine Archaeology Unit.

"They may have been anchored offshore after getting into difficulty, or fearing stormy weather, because sailors know well that mooring in shallow, open water outside of a port is dangerous and prone to disaster."

The more recent ship was carrying a hoard of about 560 coins from the Mamluk era, and many ship parts were found, including a broken metal anchor, bronze nails, a hull piece and some tubes.

Archaeologists believe that the older ship belonged to important figures, as an eagle statue — a symbol of Roman rule — was discovered.

Another statue was found in the form of a dancer wearing a comic mask, along with pottery vessels. 

The most unusual find is the golden ring, which bears a green stone engraved with a young shepherd wrapped in a tunic and symbolizes the "Good Shepherd" — one of the first expressions to refer to Jesus, and used several times in the Gospels.