In Nieuwegein, archaeologists have found a sword of 900 years old. The broadsword was discovered as early as May, but the discovery has only now been made known to the world. The sword is 118 cm long, made of iron and steel, and comes from the high Middle Ages.
A sword from that time that is still in such a good condition is unique, the archaeologists say to RTV Utrecht. It was discovered during excavations at industrial park Het Klooster, where ancient skeletons and remains of a brown bear were previously found.
“ This is typically a sword for a knight. Maybe after using the sword, he died in that place or maybe he was on the run and had to leave the sword behind,” says archaeologist and project leader Roosje de Leeuwe.
Seventeen copies of this type of sword have been found so far, but according to archaeologists, this sword is best preserved. It was found in oxygen deprived conditions, complete with the original beech handle and parts of the beechwood calfskin covered sheath.
For the archaeologists, too, it remains to guess what happened around the sword and who it was. But that it belonged to a knight is very likely, given the type of sword and the inscription with two crusader crusts that can be seen on it. Maybe the owner was a crusader. On one of the sides it is written in Latin: In nomine domini (in the name of Mr).
“ The name of the knight remains unknown, but we do know who made the sword. Gicelin me fecit (Gicelin made me) is on it.” Gicelin was a master blacksmith, probably from the Lower Rhine region, who was active around 1100. “More swords are known of him, but none of them look as good as this one,” says De Leeuwe.
“ Perhaps the knight was engaged in a fight, for the sword has a big dent on the blade. Youd think if the sword went home after the fight, the knight would have cut it for his next action. But that didnt happen.” And so that dent probably got in right before the sword disappeared into the lake. What happened to the knight then remains guessing.
Not the first find
It is not the first time archaeologists have found anything on the site of The Monastery. At the beginning of 2019, they came across a huge amount of wooden poles and fishing net weighters pointing to a former spot for fishing. The poles date back to the 8th century AD, the early Middle Ages. In addition to the jetty and fishing poles, shards and utensils such as fish hooks were found.
Two years earlier, early 2017, Nieuwegein gained six millennia of history with the discovery of a stone age site. Thats where the 6,000-year-old skeletons of a woman with her child were found.
And in 1947, during dredging work, a bronze sword emerged during the construction of a harbour near the village of Jutphaas, now part of the municipality of Nieuwegein. The sword dates from prehistoric times (1800-1500 BC) and is one of five almost identical swords found in Plougrescant (Brittany), Beaune (Burgundy), Oxborough (England) and Ommerschans (Drenthe).
According to the Rijksmuseum for Antiquities in Leiden, where this prehistoric sword can now be seen, the five swords were probably ceremonial prestige objects for rituals. In Nieuwegein a copy of the Sword of Jutphaas can be seen in Museum Warsenhoeck.