They also found a tiny, carved gemstone just loose on the ocean floor.
Finding shipwrecks full of gold is the ultimate treasure hunter’s dream. However, unlike modern shipwrecks a recent find off the coast of the ruins of Caesarea Maritima in Israel (near the modern city of Caesarea) has yielded gold and also some early Christian history. 2 shipwrecks, 1 dating from the 1st-3rd centuries and the other from the 14th century, have been discovered- along with coins, equipment, a carved good shepherd ring.
Archaeologists with the Israel Antiquities Authority dove into the water and used handheld metal detectors to comb along the ocean floor at the shipwreck site. They found an array of items from the 1st through the 3rd century CE from the Roman Empire. Among them was a gold, octagonal ring that features a stone carved with an image of a shepherd with a lamb over his shoulders. This well-known symbol for the Good Shepherd would have been well known among early Christians, but is unusual to be found on a ring. While many of the artifacts took a real beating over the centuries, the ring looks almost as if it could have been made yesterday.
It is thought that the ring may have been made for a woman due to its small size. Whoever had the wealth to own this ring likely faced no negative consequences for being Christian. During this time of the Empire many different religions were practiced and in 323 Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire.
Other items found at the site include coins from many eras, a lead device for measuring the sea depth, ceremonial bells, and bronze nails from the ship’s hull. They also found a bronze eagle that was likely associated with the Roman Legion.
A tiny, loose gemstone carved with a lyre instrument was miraculously found at the site as well.
Hundreds of silver dirham coins were found there from a ship that crashed on the same spot 1,000 years after the Roman-era ship sunk into the water. This area is close to the harbor where it was most dangerous for large ships that couldn’t handle shallow depths without damage.