JERUSALEM, May 26 (JTA) — Israel’s Antiquities Authority opened this week two underwater archaeological parks in Ashkelon and Haifa. Remains of more than 10 ancient ships, some dating to the Bronze period, have been discovered off the Israeli coast. Some of the finds are believed to date back to when Philistines arrived at the ancient port of Ashkelon. Among the treasures found in the hulls of ancient sunken ships are a monkey figurine with its hands clasped over its mouth, a bronze trumpet and a lead oven. Ehud Galili, the head of marine archaeology in the Antiquities Authority, said the unique conditions of the Israeli coastline contributes to the rich archaeological finds along its shores. Because there are few places for shelter, boats caught in sudden storms sunk off the coast, creating, over the past 4,000 years, “a massive boat graveyard.” The underwater parks were opened in connection with archaeology preservation week.
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