The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) announced that an underwater survey in the ancient port of Caesarea has uncovered a spectacular trove of cargo from a 1,600 year old merchant shipwreck including thousands of coins and bronze statues dating to the 5th century AD.
The IAA noted that it is largest such find in the past thirty years. Statues and coins have all been discovered in the wreckage, thought to be Israel's most significant archaeological find in 30 years.
Using advanced equipment, archaeologists recovered bronze artifacts in an "extraordinary state of preservation," according to the Antiquities Authority, including: 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; fragments of three life-size bronze cast statues; objects fashioned in the shape of animals such as a whale; a bronze faucet in the form of a wild boar with a swan on its head; among others. Some of the objects date to the fourth century, while others are from the first and second centuries.
One of the biggest surprises was the discovery of thousands of coins stored for transportation in pottery vessels.
According to the Antiquities Authority, the coins bear the image of the emperor Constantine who ruled the Western Roman Empire (312–324 CE) and was later known as Constantine the Great, ruler of the Roman Empire (324–337 CE), and of Licinius, an emperor who ruled the eastern part of the Roman Empire and was a rival of Constantine, until his downfall in a battle that was waged between the two rulers