Archaeologists Discover “Unique” Ceremonial Bronze Age Sword

Archaeologists Discover “Unique” Ceremonial Bronze Age Sword

Archaeologists Discover “Unique” Ceremonial Bronze Age Sword

In the village of Hre on the Danish island of Funen, archaeologists found a rare Bronze Age ceremonial sword.

The sword dates from Phase IV of the Bronze Age, about 3,000 years ago, making it an incredibly rare discovery. What makes it even more remarkable is that it is totally intact, from bronze blade to wood handle. Even the plant fibers that were used to wrap it are still there.

The site was excavated as part of a year-long project to survey the Baltic Pipe gas pipeline’s 37-mile route. Archaeologists from the Odense City Museums were nearing the end of their excavations in west Funen when they came across the ruins of an ancient village where the sword had been ritually deposited 3,000 years ago.

The swords was removed to the Odense City Museums for cleaning and conservation in controlled conditions. Because of the diversity of materials used in its construction, the sword had to be dismantled to see to the different preservation needs of each piece.

The fiber grip winding, which may be bast from linden wood, was unraveled and the wood and horn components separated from the metal of the blade.

Samples were taken to identify the materials. The sample from the plant fiber will be radiocarbon dated to determine when the sword was made.

The sword weighs almost three pounds (1.3 kilos), a large and very expensive amount of bronze to secure at that time.

The grip was cast together with the blade shaft of the sword and covered in wood and antler/bone for a comfortable hold.

The metal was likely imported from Central Europe and then crafted by a local blacksmith.

The sample from the bronze alloy of the sword will be tested to identify its exact composition and its source location.


When conservation and study is complete, conservators will reassemble the sword and put it on public display, probably at the Odense Møntergården museum which has permanent exhibits on the ancient history of Funen.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *