An ancient ring depicting Jesus as the Good Shepherd was discovered among a hoard of treasure from shipwrecks off the Israeli coast.

The Israeli Antiquities Authority called the gold ring with a green gem an "exquisite and rare find." It was recovered along with coins and artwork from a Roman shipwreck that went down near the port city of Caesaria around 1,700 years ago, the IAA said in a statement.


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"[The ring] is carved with the figure of a young shepherd boy dressed in a tunic and bearing a ram or a sheep on his shoulders. ... This unique gold ring bearing the 'Good Shepherd' figure gives us, possibly, an indication that its owner was an early Christian," the IAA said. "The ring was discovered near the port of Caesarea, a site of great significance in Christian tradition. Caesarea was one of the earliest centers of Christianity and housed one of the first Christian communities."

CORRECTION Israel Shipwrecks
A Roman gold ring, its green gemstone carved with the figure of a shepherd carrying a sheep on his shoulders, dating to around 1,700 years ago, is displayed after it was found near the ancient city of Caesarea. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)


Helena Sokolov, an expert coin curator with the IAA, said the ring's owner may have been a wealthy woman due to its small size and costly material.

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The IAA's Marine Archaeology Unit also found a red gem carved with the image of a lyre, along with hundreds of Roman coins, pottery, a bronze eagle symbolizing Roman rule, and parts of the ship's hull.

Israel has seen other unusual discoveries in recent months. In October, a diver found a 900-year-old Crusader sword off the Middle Eastern nation's coastline.