A lifeguard’s alertness resulted in an underwater archaeological discovery: the very first evidence of an ancient anchorage for sailing vessels in Netanya (October 30th 2006)
After receiving a message from Ofer Harmoni, a lifeguard at the Netanya beach, informing the Antiquities Authority of the presence of an iron anchor on the seabed next to the Netanya shore, the Marine Unit of the Antiquities Authority conducted an underwater archaeological survey at the site in order to locate, document and recover any ancient remains. During the survey five large stone anchors c. 4,000 years old (dating to the late Middle Bronze Age) were located. They have a single perforation, are 0.9 m high and 0.6 m wide and weigh c. 150 kilograms each. Two small stone anchors for small boats and two iron anchors, 1.5 m high and weighing c. 200 kilograms, which date to the Byzantine period (5th-7th centuries CE), were also removed from the seabed. One anchor was found in an upright position with one fluke embedded in the seabed and the other anchor does not appear to have been used and was found lying on the deck of a boat that had probably sank there. A small millstone that was probably used by the crew of the Byzantine boat was found nearby.
The director of the Marine Unit of the Antiquities Authority, Kobi Sharvit, reports that these are the first finds that have been discovered so far along the shore of 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. This is the first evidence we have of the existence of an anchorage site for sailing vessels in antiquity at Netanya”, he said.