According to archaeologists, warrior graves of this kind, dating back to the 300s-500s, may be found once every 30 years. This particular one, however, stands out due to its possible connections to continental Europe and the Roman Empire.
A skeleton, sword, and spurs that belonged to an Iron Age warrior have been found during an archaeological excavation on the Swedish Island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea.
Researchers believe the man may have served in the Roman army.
The discovery was made by Uppsala University students during excavations in Buttle Änge in the midst of a limestone burial.
“I was present when the femur and a piece of the hip bone were excavated. You have to be very careful when digging this type of material so we had to carefully remove the soil with brushes. Eventually we found spurs down at the feet. And when we brushed at the belly of this individual, it appeared as a piece of bronze that we carefully continued to brush forward”, student Gustav Randér told the newspaper Dagens Nyheter, describing the situation as “absolutely fantastic”.
The object appeared to be an 80-centimetre sword with bronze fittings. In addition, part of the sheath was also preserved on both the top and bottom of the bronze sword. At the bottom of the sword, an acorn-shaped decoration was found.
— Uppsala universitet (@uppsalauni) August 20, 2021
Alexander Andreeff Högfeldt, a doctor of archeology at Uppsala University, said the sword appears to have been inspired by those used on the continent, which reveals interesting details about the life of the sword bearer.
“We know from written sources from the Mediterranean world that Germans, that is Scandinavians, served in the Roman army. So it is very possible that this person learned weapons technology from the Romans”, Alexander Andreeff Högfeldt mused.
Andreeff Högfeldt described the find as “rather unusual” and said that warrior skeletons like this may be found once every 30 years.
The details about the owner of the sword, however, remain scarce. He appears to be a man with a strong jaw and solid bone structure, who lived sometime during the 300s-500s. Further investigations and research will be carried out in the future.