Workers digging a sewer in the Danish city of Aalborg have unearthed a remarkably well-preserved sword that dates back to at least the 14th century.
Plumber Jannick Vestergaard and engineer Henning Nøhr were stunned to see the 3.7-foot sword, still intact, sticking out of the ground during a sewer excavation on Sunday. The workers from contractor Gunnar Nielsen A/S quickly contacted the Northern Jutland Historical Museum to examine their amazing find.
Northern Jutland Historical Museum archaeologist Kenneth Nielsen said that the layer of soil in which the sword was found dates to the 1300s. The sword was discovered on Algade, which is one of Aalborg’s oldest streets.
Experts note that it is rare to find a sword in this type of setting. As high-status items, they are usually found in war graves where they are buried with their owners. However, no grave has yet been found in the immediate vicinity of the Algade sword. The medieval St. Peder's cemetery is about 66 feet south of where the sword was found.
The weapon, which bears the marks of battle, offers a glimpse into a violent period in Denmark’s history. “Aalborg has been subjected to military attacks in the Middle Ages,” Nielsen explained, in a statement.
The 2.2-pound sword may have been used in brutal clashes reminiscent of “Game of Thrones.” In the 1250s, for example, Aalborg was embroiled in the power struggle involving the sons of King Valdemar Sejr's. Just a few decades later, in 1289, Marsk Stig Andersen Hvide and Norwegian King Erik Prestehader attempted to occupy the city, according to Nielsen.
Although the sword may well have been involved in one of these events, it seems more likely to have been lost sometime in the 14th century, according to the Museum. Civil war-like conditions during that century resulted in a number of bloody clashes and it is possible that the sword’s owner died in battle and his sword felt into the mud over and was never recovered.
There is also some uncertainty about the actual age of the sword, which may have been in use from the 12th century until about 1400, experts say.
The sword will now be cleaned and preserved before going on display at the Aalborg Historical Museum.
Other centuries-old swords have been discovered elsewhere in Scandinavia. In 2017, for example, an incredibly well-preserved Viking sword was found by a reindeer hunter on a remote mountain in Southern Norway.
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