An employee of the Army Museum in Bialystok found a unique relic of great historical value during a holiday recreational dive – an early medieval sword of Viking weapon type, probably dating back to the 10th century.
For now, the museum does not want to reveal the exact location of the site (in Podlaskie province) where the sword was found; more in-depth archaeological work is still planned there.
We don’t know if this is a single case or if there are more artifacts out there. Such miracles happen in the museum once every 40 years, because more than 40 years ago, during the dredging of the Supraśl river (…) an early medieval sword from the 11th century was also found, which is still in our collection. This is a priceless thing from the point of view of our region, because it tells us a lot about how a thousand years ago ran, for example, merchant routes or what peoples might have been here, because the sword found now is quite specific – Robert Sadowski, director of the Army Museum, said at a press conference on Tuesday.
The find was shown to reporters on Tuesday; the artifact is currently placed in distilled water to keep it from being exposed to the air. “I came across this artifact while on vacation. I immediately knew what it was, because the shape left no illusions, it was immediately clear that it was a sword from the 9th to 10th centuries. It was in such a place that it had to be excavated, because its continued presence there threatened to destroy it,” said Szczepan Skibicki, an employee of the site.
Invited to the conference, Alexander Piasecki of the archaeology department of the Podlaskie Museum in Bialystok, who is a specialist in the field, said that everything indicates that it is a sword “of the Viking type,” probably dating to the 10th century.
You can already see traces of very rare decoration on the sword head, the sword is most likely made of very good quality steel, either in the Rhineland or in Kiev – he said.
According to him, there are three working theories as to how such a sword could have ended up in the area of the current Podlaskie province. The first is that it ended up in the water from a dilapidated grave, the second is that it may have been lost during some armed skirmish at a crossing, and the third is that it was thrown into the river as part of cult rituals.
There are such cult finds in Poland quite numerous – Piasecki said.
He added that in cooperation with underwater archaeologists, the site will be thoroughly investigated in the near future.
The Provincial Office for Monument Protection in Bialystok was notified of the find. According to the office’s announcement, the object is undamaged; in addition to the sword, fragments of pottery, nails and other small metal elements were found.
The Podlasie Conservator of Monuments, Prof. Malgorzata Dajnowicz, reminded in this communication that – according to the Law on Protection and Care of Monuments – an accidentally found object, which is presumed to be an archaeological monument, the finder is obliged (using available means) to secure and mark the place of its finding and immediately notify the competent provincial conservator of monuments, and if this is not possible – the competent mayor (mayor, city president).
“We want to see if it was a complete coincidence, or if maybe there is something else there,” he – Director Sadowski said of the find. He expressed hope that the sword would eventually stay at the Bialystok Military Museum and could be displayed at the facility.
On Wednesday, August 31, in cooperation with the University of Warsaw Underwater Archaeology Laboratory Underwater Expedition Faculty of Archaeology, headed by Professor Bartosz Kontny, we verified the find of an early medieval sword. The discovery took place on August 28 this year, and was made by Szczepan Skibicki, an employee of the Army Museum in Bialystok. Preliminary results of the prospecting showed that we are dealing with a multi-phase underwater archaeological site. Once the appropriate approvals are obtained, the research will continue later this year – informed Warsaw archaeologists via the website Underwater Archaeology Underwater Expedition Faculty of Archaeology of the UW
Photo by Wojciech Hryń, Army Museum in Bialystok
The Divers24 portal is currently the largest online medium treating diving in Poland. Since 2010 we have been providing interesting and important information from Poland and around the world on all forms of diving and related activities.
Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org