Israeli lifeguards working the beaches near Tel Aviv this month rescued a well-preserved Byzantine-era anchor from the sea. Though lifeguard Avi Afia initially spotted the tip of the anchor five years ago in shallow waters just off the coast, it was only this month that shifting sands revealed the full extent of the 7-foot tall, 660-pound iron artifact. The anchor was probably used as a spare and stored in the cargo hold of a merchant ship that wrecked off the coast more than 1,700 years ago.
According to marine archaeologist Jacob Sharvit of the Israel Antiquities Authority, such finds, while not rare, evidence the vibrant sea trade of the Byzantine period, when merchant ships would carry oil, wine and other goods to ports across the Mediterranean. His team hopes to begin a diving this week to find additional artifacts from the wreck.