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How archaeologists found 3,000-year-old sword preserved so perfectly it ‘almost still shines’

How archaeologists found 3,000-year-old sword preserved so perfectly it ‘almost still shines’

This is the sort of find that archaeologists dream of.

Back in mid-2023, archaeologists in Germany made the discovery of a lifetime when they unearthed a 3,000-year-old sword that was so brilliantly preserved it almost couldn't be believed.

The sword was found in the southern Bavarian town of Nördlingen, in a grave site that was being investigated, but immediately stood out thanks to its superb condition.

The weapon seemed to have barely aged despite being incredibly old - and, as stated by Bavaria's State Office for Monument Protection at the time, it "almost still shines".

The sword features a bronze hilt of some intricacy, cast over the blade in a manner that few smiths could apparently manage at the time. The technique has apparently only been found to have come from two regions, proving that rarity.

The green of its aged bronze is amazingly bright, and the blade itself is also really clean and clear, making it look like you could pick it up and start swinging without any trouble. Of course, the images show it only partially unearthed, before careful work to completely extract the sword without damaging it at all.

It doesn't appear to have any nicks or damage that would indicate it was actually used in battle at any point, but the blade is nonetheless not a ceremonial or display one, according to experts.

Newsweek’s Jess Thomson said experts told her "its center of gravity made it suitable for use as a real weapon, and it was capable of being used to slash opponents".

Zukvosten / Getty
Zukvosten / Getty

Researchers have also indicated that the blade probably dates from the 14th century B.C.E, making it extraordinarily old to be in such good condition.

The amount of grave looting that has happened in much of Europe has made for additional hurdles when archaeologists seek out finds like this, and that robbing has happened over centuries, rather than just in recent times.

Of course, the blade wasn't found alone - it was in a grave site along with a range of other artefacts and the skeletons of three people. A man, a woman and a child were there, too, but it's not easy to establish whether they were related or not.

Still, it's an astonishing find given how obviously the blade looks stunning even to a non-expert eye, and had people excitedly comparing it to ornate weapons from video games and movies when its photos were first published.

It's also a great reminder of just how much history there is waiting to be uncovered beneath our feet - this sort of dig site can be found all over the place, although a sword as pristine as this one might not be waiting in all of them.

Featured Image Credit: Archäologie-Büro Dr. Woidich / Sergiu Tifui