During an archaeological survey in Lilla Torg, Halmstad, Sweden, archaeologists made a very unusual discovery—a well-preserved, large medieval sword.

The sword’s blade measures over a meter long and was found in a tomb where the sub-medieval convent of the Church of St. Anne once stood. The tomb was beneath the floor of the south nave of the church when the Franciscan convent was active in Halmstad between 1494 and 1531.

When the tomb was examined by archaeologists, it was determined to belong to a man who was 6 feet 3 inches tall. The sword was placed on his left side.

Subsequently, two more tombs have been found near the site, in the south nave. A woman and another man are buried in them.

No other objects were preserved in the three examined tombs. The sword is also the only buried object found in the 49 tombs examined so far during the ongoing renovation of Lilla Torg.

The discovery of swords in medieval tombs is very unusual, and individuals buried with swords belonged to the higher echelons of society.

The finding of the sword in Lilla Torg confirms that the Church of St. Anne was used as a burial place for nobility during the 35 years when the Franciscan order operated there.

The sword has been removed from the ground and sent for conservation to initiate the examination and treatment of the discovery in a protective environment.

The first X-ray of the find shows that the blade is decorated with two embedded crosses, likely made of precious metal.

When the sword was found, field archaeologists could already sense that the blade was decorated, a detail now confirmed by the X-ray.

The conservation process is lengthy, but more information will be obtained from both the archaeological study and the conservators’ work on the sword.


Kulturmiljö Halland (Hallands kulturhistoriska museum)

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