An archaeological treasure: Workers stumble on medieval sword in Poland

Workers deepening a pool at a recreation center in Włocławek, Poland, last Friday were greeted by an unexpected sight, an entirely intact early medieval sword, the Provincial Office for the Protection of Monuments in Toruń announced.

The sword had first been missed by the excavator, who tossed the piece of history aside. The treasure was nearly missed altogether until the company’s owner Sławomir Mularski noticed the sword. 

Mularski, aware of the significance of the find, immediately contacted the Provincial Monument Protection Office. The office collected the item and began working diligently to uncover information on its history. 

History of the sword

The analysis of the sword revealed it to be from the Piast rule in the 10th century, the first ruling dynasty in Poland. Researchers expressed the belief that the sword may be Scandinavian in origin, leaving the possibility that the weapon was once wielded by a Viking.

A sword believed to have belonged to a Crusader who sailed to the Holy Land almost a millennium ago stands in the water near to where it was recovered from the Mediterranean seabed by an amateur diver, the Israel Antiquities Authority said, Caesarea, Israel October 18, 2021 (credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS)

Experts classified the sword as Type S, meaning, according to Petersen typology, that it was designed to have “a simple blade that extends symmetrically towards the end, while the head of these swords usually had a three-piece head overlay and are dated to the period between 900 and 1000 years,” according to the office.

Adding to the already surprising find, an X-ray of the sword revealed inscriptions that are thought to have potentially provided evidence the sword is one of the famous swords signed with the mysterious inscription U[V]LFBERTH. These were the most famous and best swords used at the time. The hypothesis awaits further testing for confirmation.

“I don’t know where the idea that the sword belonged to a Viking comes from,” said Grochowski in translated comments. “Without detailed research, this is completely unjustified. It is difficult to say anything more than the fact that it is an early medieval sword.”





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