A shipwreck with bronze statues, thousands of coins, and other finds has been discovered at ancient Caesarea Maritima, the same harbor used by the Apostle Paul. The Israel Antiquities Authority calls this the largest underwater discovery in 30 years. The wreck dates to the late Roman period and appears to have been a ship that had just left the safety of the harbor.
The coins bear the images of Constantine, the Roman emperor who legalized Christianity in early 4th century AD, and Licinius, a rival and co-emperor whom Constantine eventually defeated in battle. These coins from the shipwreck number in the thousands.
The shipwreck itself tells a story:
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 it smashed into the seawall and the rocks. A preliminary study of the iron anchors suggests there was an attempt to stop the drifting vessel before it reached shore by casting anchors into the sea; however, these broke – evidence of the power of the waves and the wind which the ship was caught up in.”
You can download the official press release with further details of this discovery. The Israel Antiquities Authority has provided a number of photos, most of which are shown below.
The Caesarea National Park is a favorite stop for tour groups. It has spectacular ruins of the Roman city and harbor plus a well-perserved Crusader fortress. In recent years the park authority has added trendy restaurants, cafes, an art gallery, two short movies on the history of the ancient city, and interactive technological displays for visitors to enjoy. I am planning to be there with my group in a few weeks.
HT: Joe Lauer