Israel’s Underwater Treasure Found in Caesarea

Marie-Claire De Villiers
By Marie-Claire De Villiers
Edited by Joel Taylor

Published January 12, 2022.

Roman coins

Ancient Caesarea lies about halfway between Haifa and Tel Aviv, on Israel's Mediterranean Coast. The city played an important role in history and was once home to a thriving Christian community. After several archaeological excavations in the last 20 years, an incredible wealth of Roman treasure has been found, and the well-preserved area is now known as Caesarea National Park.

However, an intriguing discovery was made by divers in December of 2021. This article looks at the enthralling underwater treasure they found and its biblical significance.

The Historical Background of Caesarea

The walled city and harbor were built by King Herod the Great in the first century, where a Phoenician and Greek trading post once stood. The port was the largest on the eastern Mediterranean coast at the time and was initially called Sebastes (after emperor Augustus).

What Was Found in Caesarea?

While many captivating treasures have been found at the site over the years, the recent discovery has revealed something truly unique. Just off the coast, in the ancient harbor, discovery divers found treasure, coins, and several mystifying rings in two shipwrecks (dated to the Roman and Mamluk periods, about 1,700 and 600 years ago, respectively).

While the ship from the Mamluk period was certainly interesting, the treasures found on the older one were really astonishing.

Divers found 1,700-year-old bronze and silver coins, a red gemstone with an engraving of a lyre, and a thick, octagonal gold ring with a green jewel that depicted the image of the Good Shepherd (an old image of Jesus). The coins provided a time date for the treasures.

The Religious Significance of the Good Shepherd

The depiction of the Good Shephard has an important sacred significance. This is one of the oldest images we know of that represents Jesus Christ. As a shepherd, he is benevolent, humble, and a powerful guide for us.

The red stone also holds a wonderful meaning. King David played his harp for Saul (the first King of Israel). As is written in 1 Samuel 16:23:

Whenever the spirit from God came on Saul, David would take up his harp and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, the evil spirit would leave him.

What the Treasure of Caesarea Revealed to the World

It is believed that the Roman-era ship was carrying people from the Christian community that lived in the vibrant city that once existed there. The remarkable discovery of religious jewelry proved that Caesarea was home to a thriving community of Christian people. The discovery has provided an awe-inspiring gift of knowledge.

Treasure of Caesarea - An Unfinished Story?

The divers were not authorized to take the treasure from the sea as this is usually seen as looting. However, they handed over what they did take as strong currents were coming, and they worried they might never find the items again. Many people firmly believe that there may be more in the depths.

While this makes it super tempting to go diving in the area with the hopes of finding more, be sure to notify the relevant authorities if you do happen to find anything.