What has happened to the two hobby divers Ran Feinstein and Ofer Raanan near Caesarea was a diver’s dream come true: they came across a huge treasure that turned out to become the most significant find of the past 30 years: it was the cargo of a merchant ship that sank during the Late Roman period 1600 years ago.
It contained a bronze lamp depicting the image of the Roman sun god Sol, a figurine of the moon goddess Luna, as well as several bronze statues. “These are extremely exciting finds, which apart from their extraordinary beauty, are of historical significance.
The location and distribution of these 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 smashing into the seawall and the rocks,” says Jacob Sharvit, director of the Marine Archaeology Unit of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
There are two main reasons for the experts’ excitement: metal statues were regularly melted down and recycled plus the sand protected the statues. “They are in an amazing state of preservation – as though they were cast yesterday rather than 1,600 years ago”.