Lifeguard discovers Crusader-era lamp on Ashkelon beach

Julie Wiener

(JTA) — An Israeli lifeguard discovered a 900-year-old clay oil lamp while jogging on an Ashkelon beach.

Meir Amsik, who works at the beach in the southern city on the Mediterranean coast, stumbled across the artifact last week, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Amsik was picking up wooden boards that had washed onto the beach when he spotted the lamp. “I thought it might be an antique, so I picked it up,” he said, according to the Post.

The Israel Antiquities Authority, to whom Amsik reported the find, has determined that it dates to the 12th-century Crusader period.

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Sa’ar Ganor, the IAA’s archeologist for the Ashkelon District, said the lamp became unearthed as a result of a receding and weathered coastal cliff.

“Finding such a treasure is very exciting,” Amsik said. “Just to feel like a part of history fulfills a sense of appreciation for what was here before me, and makes me feels like a link in the chain.”

Guy Fitoussi, of the IAA’s Robbery Prevention Unit, praised Amsik, saying: “The lifeguards on the beach are not just saving people, but even antiques.”

A number of Israeli amateurs have discovered antiquities in recent months. In April, two divers discovered a large trove of Roman-era antiquities in the harbor of Caesarea. The discovery, from a shipwreck, was the largest underwater find in more than 30 years. In March, the IAA reported that a kibbutz member hiking at a northern Israeli archaeological site had found a rare 2,000-year-old Roman coin.

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