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Bronze Age Sword Found in Germany

Although dating from well before the Middle Ages, we at Medieval Historia still get excited over a sword find!

The recent discovery of a Bronze Age sword near Nördlingen in Germany has also sparked excitement among archaeologists and historians.

Significant Find

The sword, found alongside the remains of a man, woman, and child, is an exceptional find. This is mainly due to its rarity and remarkable condition. The sword belongs to the Urnfield Culture, which emerged around 1300 BC and was known for its advanced metalworking skills.

Pommel
The pommel and handle have been made by a master swordsmith.

The sword is similar in design to the Bronze D type Rixheim swords. This features a solid hilt created through overlay casting of the handle over the blade.

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However, it is described as “octagonal,” distinguishing it from other sword types. The ornate decoration on the hilt and the absence of impact marks on the blade suggest that the sword had a ceremonial or high-status function. Despite its ceremonial nature, the blade would still have been effective as a weapon. With its forward centre of gravity indicating its suitability for slashing.

Undisturbed

The discovery is particularly significant because many burial mounds in the region have been looted or previously excavated. The well-preserved state of the sword and its association with the burial site provide valuable insights into the material culture and practices of the Urnfield Culture.

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Further examination of the sword and the burial site will allow archaeologists to gain a more precise understanding of the find.

Local?

One of the key questions surrounding the sword is its origin. Researchers are investigating whether it was locally crafted or imported. Distribution centres for similar octagonal swords during the Bronze Age were located in southern Germany, northern Germany, and Denmark.

sword
The blade is in amazing condition and is of great workmanship.

A comparison of casting techniques and decorative elements will shed light on the sword’s potential origins and trade networks during that period.

Some octagonal swords found in the north appear to be replicas of south German forms, suggesting a transfer of craftsmanship or trade connections. The presence of genuine imports or the work of wandering craftsmen adds further intrigue to the investigation.

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Overall, the discovery of this Bronze Age sword near Nördlingen provides valuable insights into the material culture, metallurgical skills, and social structures of the Urnfield Culture.

It stands as a rare and exceptional find, showcasing the rich history of the region and the enduring fascination with ancient weaponry and symbolism.

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As archaeologists continue to study and analyse the sword and its context, we can expect further revelations about this remarkable artifact and its significance in Bronze Age society.

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