Archaeologists stay on their toes, looking for relics that take us back to our past. Archaeologists have made some of the most impressive discoveries in the last decade alone. Undoubtedly, ancient swords stand out from the lot.
Swords, designed for killing, revolutionized human technology and warfare. As a result, their history and legends have captured people’s imagination for centuries. To take a couple of examples, King Arthur’s Excalibur and Charlemagne’s Joyeuse are just two legendary weapons to play significant roles in their respective mythologies and histories.
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But real-life blades that have existed and survived across millennia are equally fascinating. The following are the most impressive ancient swords discovered to date.
Rare Finds From Israel, Japan, and Turkey
If you are a sword enthusiast or a history buff, these three weapons are bound to evoke a sense of awe and fascination. Each of the following blades has a unique design and cultural significance.
Late in 2021, a 900-year-old crusader sword was discovered by a scuba diver off the coast of Israel. In addition to the ancient sword, the diver uncovered other relics that dated back to the Crusades.
The 4 feet long sword, despite being underwater for a long time, was well preserved. The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) believes that the sword belonged to a crusader knight. It was dated between 1095 to 1291.
Ritualistic Japanese Sword
In November 2022, archaeologists uncovered a 7.5-foot-long sword and a shield-shaped mirror in Nara, Japan.
The relics were dug up during the Tomio Maruyama burial mound excavation. It is believed to have been a ceremonial weapon meant to protect the dead from evil spirits in the afterlife.
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Archeologist Riku Murase says the sword is twice as big as any sword found in Japan. Moreover, its dakō blades, shape, and pattern show the skilled Japanese craftsmanship of the past.
Byzantine Ring Pommelled Swords
Two unusual ancient swords were found in the medieval stronghold of Amorium in Turkey. The iron swords’ handles integrate aspects uncommon in the Byzantine Empire. The blades feature a ring-shaped pommel combined with an inscribed cross guard at the end of the handle. The swords are so unique that scientists have trouble defining their origin and purpose.
Archaeological analysis shows that the swords belong to the 10th and 11th centuries.
A 2021 study published in the Journal of Art History describes how the ring pommels are different from ring-pommelled swords found across the world.
The Bronze Age Sword
In the Czech Republic, a Bronze Age sword and axe were found by Roman Novák. Novák stumbled across the weapons while foraging mushrooms in the rural hills of Jesenicko in 2020.
The sword, a beautiful example of an ornate Bronze Age weapon, has a bronze blade, pommel, and hilt decorated with intricately engraved circles and crescent patterns.
According to Radio Prague International, the sword is approximately 3,300 years old.
Though damaged, the ancient sword is complete and is now at the Silesian Museum in the Czech Republic. X-ray scans prove that the sword is from the Bronze Age. The fascinating discovery led the museum to send teams to the area to try to find other hidden artifacts. Understandably, the location is considered “archaeologically marginal” now.
In Norway, two metal detectorists discovered three pieces of a Viking sword in 2022. In other words, the two reunited the sword after 1,200 years!
Though the blade is still missing, the hilt and pommel of the sword fit together perfectly. Archeologists call it a Peterson Type D-sword – one of the larger and heavier swords from the Viking Age.
The sword features ornate gold and silver carvings. The hilt is sculpted like an animals head and decorated with patterns made using the Niello technique. Researchers at the University of Stavanger believe this weapon’s complex design and rarity suggest that it may have belonged to someone wealthy.
The sword pieces were located near the “Gausel Queen,” one of the country’s wealthiest Viking graves ever found.