About thirty years ago, three large stone anchors were found in the same bay (Hadas 1992). The continuous receding of the Dead Sea water level in the last decades revealed additional ancient anchors. About twenty years ago two wooden anchors were exposed 3 km north of the bay, at 417 m bsl (Hadas, Liphschitz and Bonani 2005). Two of the stone anchors preserved traces of ropes, which were dated to the Hellenistic–Early Roman periods.

The anchor described here is a weight anchor (Fig. 2), exposed at 436 m bsl after further receding of the sea level. Its shape suggests a date similar to that of the two dated stone anchors. The anchor is made of Samara formation sandstone and resembles a rectangular box (0.36 × 0.46 m, thickness 0.2 m; 47 kg). The rounded top has a perforation for a rope (diam. 8 cm). This anchor is slightly smaller than those found at the site in the past, and it weighs less than half of their weight. It was found within a heap of pebbles covered with Aragonite. It may be concluded that when these anchors went out of use, they remained on the Dead Sea floor and were exposed only because of the receding water level. The anchor was transferred to the IAA storage facility and will join the exhibit of stone anchors found on the shores of the Dead Sea at ‘En Gedi.

The anchors found at ‘En Gedi bay are tangible evidence of trade and seafaring in the Dead Sea in antiquity. Seafaring in the Dead Sea is known from the Iron Age to the Middle Ages, as well as in the twentieth century CE (Hadas 1993).