The ancient artifacts. (Diego Barkan/IAA) (Diego Barkan/IAA)
Hadera artifacts
Hadera artifacts

The ancient hand grenade. (Amir Gorzalczany/IAA)

The Mazliah family contacted a representative of the Israel Antiquities Authority and invited him to their home in order to examine numerous ancient metal artifacts that had been in the possession of their recently-deceased father.

An Israeli family who chanced upon items thousands of years old taken from the sea off Israel’s coast, turned them over to the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), rather than keeping them.

Metal artifacts, the earliest of which are 3,500 years old, were recently presented to the IAA by a family that inherited them from their father who died.

The Mazliah family contacted a representative of the IAA and invited him to their home in order to examine numerous metal artifacts that were in the possession of their father. The family explained that their father, who was employed at the Hadera power station since its establishment, retrieved many items from the sea while working there, which according to the family are quite ancient.

The representative was surprised by what he found: metal objects, most of which are decorated, that apparently fell overboard from a metal merchant’s ship in the Early Islamic period.

The finds include a 3,500 year-old toggle pin and the head of a knife from the Middle Bronze Age. Other items include two mortars and two pestles and fragments of candlesticks that date to the Fatimid period in the 11th century.

“The items were apparently manufactured in Syria and were brought to Israel,” Ayala Lester, a curator with the IAA, said. “The finds are evidence of the metal trade that was conducted during this period”.

Among the many artifacts examined is a hand grenade that was common in Israel during the Crusader, Ayyubid and Mamluk periods.

The IAA will give the Mazliah family a certificate of appreciation from the IAA and will be invited to tour the IAA’s laboratories where finds undergo treatment and conservation.

By: Max Gelber, United with Israel