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Keywords:

  • sounding lead;
  • Cassiopeia;
  • navigation;
  • Byzantine;
  • Carmel coast

Two Byzantine sounding leads recovered from a shipwreck off the Israeli coast were identified and dated by associated coins and artefacts to the 5th–6th centuries AD. The leads are similarly shaped. A cross and a sign like a capital‘P’ mark both. They may be from a set including an inshore and a deep-sea lead. A depiction of the stellar constellation Cassiopeia is seen on top of the lug of the small lead. Interpretation of the sign is supported by the navigational role of the constellation as well as by a classical tradition associating it with Jaffa and by its symbolic, anti-storm role.