Medieval Sword Discovered In a Denmark Sewer

On February 2019, Pipe layer Jannick Vestergaard and engineer, or operator, Henning Nøhr from the contractor Gunnar Nielsen A/S found a medieval sword in a layer of waste that had formed on top of the oldest layer of pavement running through Algade, one of the city’s central streets. Later the sword was subsequently examined by Kenneth Nielsen, an archaeologist at the Historical Museum of Northern Jutland. 

Most remarkably, the sword was still intact—and the blade still sharp. It’s about 3.5 feet long and of extremely high quality, according to archaeologists. The sword may have been used between 1100 and 1400, but the likeliest explanation is that it got separated from its owner sometime in the 14th century. 

Archaeologists think the double-edged blade belonged to an elite warrior of the time.

That's because swords were really expensive in the middle ages and only the most elite fighters - like people born into the royal family - could afford to carry one.

Whoever crafted the weapon made a recess, known as blodrille (Danish for "blood groove"), on both sides of the blade. But despite its name, the blodrille wasn't created to provide a path for blood to stream. Rather, the groove helped make the 2.2-lb. (1 kilogram) sword light and narrow, the archaeologists said.

The sword also has a disc-shaped knob (known as a pommel) on its hilt and a straight cross guard, the metal bar that runs perpendicular to the blade and would have protected the fighter's hand. Archaeologists still have mixed opinions on the sword's exact age, but a sword smith may have crafted it as early as the 1100s, meaning it had already been around the block before its last hurrah in the 1300s.

The battle scars on the weapon suggest that it was used in at least three or four massive wars.

However, it will forever be a mystery how the warrior lost the blade. Perhaps he dropped it in the mud during a military attack on Aalborg, which is now the fourth largest city in Denmark, archaeologist Kenneth Nielsen said in the statement.

The sword has now been cleaned and preserved, and it's set to go on view at the Aalborg Historical Museum, which is located on Algade street, not far from where the sword was first discovered. Archaeologists, for their part, will continue to keep an eye on sewage work being conducted in the area, in case additional artifacts from Aalborg’s medieval history come to light.


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