Monday, 16 May 2016

Roman artifacts recovered from shipwreck at the ancient port of Caesarea

Ancient artifacts have been recovered from a merchant ship that sank off the Mediterranean port of Caesarea, 1,600 years ago.

Figurine of the moon goddess Luna
The objects include thousands of coins and rare bronze statues, which were likely destined for an ancient Roman recycling depot. The artifacts include 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 and fragments of three life-size bronze cast statues.

Bronze lamp depicting the image of the sun god Sol
The range of finds recovered from the sea reflects the large volume of trade and the status of Caesarea’s harbour during the late Roman period, which was known as a period of economic and commercial stability.
The largest cache of gold coins ever found in Israel was discovered by chance by divers at Caesarea in early 2015. The treasure included at least 2,000 gold coins from the Fatimid period, approximately 1,000 years ago.
Most of the coins belong to the Caliph Al-Hakim, who ruled from 996 to 1021, and to his son, Al-Zahir (1021–1036), and were minted in Egypt and North Africa. The earliest coin in the cache is a quarter-dinar minted in Palermo, Sicily in the second half of the 9th century.

The latest coin dates to 1036, so it can be concluded that the ship sank around that year, although until excavations are carried out around the spot where the cache was found, the date is difficult to determine.
Caesarea was a harbor city founded by King Herod the Great about 2,000 years ago.

At the time the coins were minted, the city was a bustling, prosperous port that played an important role in the Fatimid's trading network.