Tuesday, October 31, 2006

 

Ancient anchorage found at Netanya

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The Jerusalem Post
By Etgar Lefkovits
October 31, 2006

A Netanya beach lifeguard who stumbled on an iron anchor while out for a swim has led marine archeologists to uncover the first evidence of an ancient anchorage for sailing vessels in Netanya, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Tuesday.

The lifeguard, Ofer Harmoni, 37, summoned the archeologists to the scene after noticing the iron anchor near the Netanya shore during a swimming workout two weeks ago.

The authority's marine unit subsequently uncovered five large stone anchors dating back 4,000 years during an underwater survey at the site.

The anchors, which archeologists date to the late Middle Bronze Age, have a single perforation, are 0.9m high and 0.6m wide and weigh 150 kilograms each.

Two smaller stone anchors for small boats and two iron anchors which date to the Byzantine period (5th-7th centuries CE), were also removed from the seabed.

One of the smaller anchors was found in an upright position with one fluke embedded in the seabed, and the other anchor was found lying on the deck of a boat that had probably sunk there.

A small millstone that was probably used by the crew of the Byzantine boat was found nearby.

Kobi Sharvit, director of the Marine Unit of the Antiquities Authority, said that these were the first finds indicating the existence of an anchorage site for sailing vessels thousands of years ago in Netanya.

"The scattering of anchors along the seabed within such a limited area and the diversity of types and different periods demonstrates that this region was used as an anchorage for sailing vessels during antiquity," he said.

Harmoni, who has served as a lifeguard at the beach since he was 17 and has previously found antiquities there, said that he was just doing his job. "This will go down in the history books," he said.


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