3000-Year-Old Sword


Archaeologists have found an octagonal sword at a burial site in the town of Nördlingen, Donau-Ries, the state of Bavaria, southern Germany.

The weapon has an ornate octagonal hilt crafted from bronze that now has a greenish tinge, as bronze contains copper, a metal that oxidizes when exposed to air and water.

The sword is thought to date to the end of the 14th century BCE, the middle Bronze Age. Sword discoveries from this time and region are rare, as many middle Bronze Age graves were looted over the millenia.

Researchers believe the sword was a real weapon. "The center of gravity in the front part of the blade indicates that it was balanced mainly for slashing," the statement reads. However, the blade doesn't have any visible cut marks or signs of wear, suggesting that it had a ceremonial or symbolic purpose.

Researchers know of two manufacturing areas for octagonal swords in Germany. One region was in southern Germany, while the other hailed from northern Germany and Denmark. It's unknown where the newfound sword was cast.

It was left in a grave containing the remains of three people -- a man, a woman, and a young person -- who were buried shortly after one another, the statement continues. They were buried with a rich array of grave goods.