Ancient anchor discovered
Ancient anchor discoveredIsrael news photo: IAA

Two lifeguards found an ancient 600-pound metal anchor off the coast of Bat Yam, adjacent to Tel Aviv, leading to the discovery of two others

The anchor dates back to the Byzantine period of approximately 1,500 years ago and measured at 2.1 meters (nearly seven feet) long. It was found buried in the sand only 100 feet from shore.

The lifeguards originally thought the anchor was modern but after realizing it may be an archeological find, Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) officials examined it and certified it as ancient find.

Further explorations in the area uncovered an identical anchor and a stone anchor, much older.

IAA maritime archeologist Dror Felner said that the discoveries raise the possibility that boats anchored in the area, a fact unknown in the past. Another possibility is that the anchors were from boats that were out at sea and sought refuge from sudden storms.

He said the metal anchor apparently has not been used and may have been stored in ships as a reserve.

The well-preserved state of the anchors was attributed to their apparently having been buried deep in the oxygen-free environment in the sand until recently having reached closer to the surface.