Ancient ship’s anchor pulled out from Mediterranean Sea was likely a spare in belly of Byzantine vessel that crashed and sank in storm about 1,700 years ago, Antiquities Authority estimates
Israeli lifeguards plunged into the Mediterranean sea this month on an unusual rescue mission: To pull out an ancient ship’s anchor.
Lifeguard Avi Afia first spotted the tip of the anchor on a daily swim five years ago. It was peeking out from the sandy ocean floor about 150 feet (60 meters) from the coast.
It wasn’t until this month that the sands shifted to reveal the treasure in its entirety: A nearly 7-foot (2.1 meter), 650-pound (300 kilogram) iron anchor, probably a spare in the belly of a Byzantine ship that crashed and sank in a storm about 1,700 years ago, said archaeologist Jacob Sharvit of Israel’s Antiquities Authority.
“It’s a feast for the eyes,” said Afia, whose colleagues walked out to the spot, in water about six feet (two meters) deep and dragged it into the lifeguard shack in Bat Yam, near Tel Aviv.