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Knight’s sword from reign of Poland’s first king Bolesław the Brave found buried in secret location

Described by archaeologists as a ‘sensation’ the metre-long weapon was found on Monday in Lewin Kłodzki by three local history enthusiasts searching the area.
Public domain/Joanna Klimek-Szymanowicz Wójt Gminy Lewin Kłodzki

A 1,000-year-old sword thought to have belonged to a knight in the service of Poland’s first king Bolesław the Brave has been found in Lower Silesia.

Described by archaeologists as a ‘sensation’, the metre-long weapon was found on Monday in Lewin Kłodzki by three local history enthusiasts searching the area.

The exact location where Konrad Oczkowski, Karol Orman and Beniamin Stawnicki made the discovery is being kept a closely guarded secret to deter treasure hunters from spoiling the archaeological site.Joanna Klimek-Szymanowicz Wójt Gminy Lewin Kłodzki

Discovering what resembled a sword head lying about 30 centimetres underground, they camouflaged the site and immediately notified archaeologists in Wałbrzych.

Marek Kowalski, an archaeologist from the Wałbrzych branch of the Provincial Office for Monument Protection in Wrocław, said: “I’ve been working in this office for 27 years and no one has ever reported anything like this to me.

Joanna Klimek-Szymanowicz Wójt Gminy Lewin Kłodzki

The sword is heavily corroded as it was lying directly in the ground not covered by any other material.Joanna Klimek-Szymanowicz Wójt Gminy Lewin Kłodzki

“It is known that during this period the Piasts and the Bohemians fought battles over this area.

“Maybe we are actually dealing with Boleslaw the Brave.

At the time the sword would have had a value equivalent to ‘several villages’.Joanna Klimek-Szymanowicz Wójt Gminy Lewin Kłodzki

Adding that there is no information that there were any castles or strongholds in the area, he told Radio Wrocław: “It’s a sword from the early Middle Ages. It dates to the early 11th century. It is all there, but in three parts.

“It undoubtedly belonged to some knight. Such things were not simply abandoned. Swords were symbols of power of rulers and knights.”

As no other objects were found next to the sword, archaeologists have ruled out that it was a burial gift. Joanna Klimek-Szymanowicz Wójt Gminy Lewin Kłodzki

Bolesław the Brave was Duke of Poland from 992 to 1025, and was crowned the first King of Poland in 1025.

One of the most warlike monarchs in the country’s history, he created a vast kingdom based on conquest and conducted long-term conflicts with most of his neighbours: with the Germans over the borderlands, with the Czechs over control of their state and over Moravia, and with the Ruthenians.

The sword has now been inspected by Dr. Lech Marek of the Institute of Archaeology at the University of Wroclaw.

Bolesław the Brave was Duke of Poland from 992 to 1025, and was crowned the first King of Poland in 1025.Public domain

According to him, the same type of swords have been found at island Ostrów Lednicki, one of a few sites suggested as the place where Mieszko I was christened in 966 and one of the most important fortifications of the early Piast kingdom.

A similar sword, which features a Christian cross, also dated to the 11th century, was found at the bottom of the surrounding lake in 2020.

The most recent find is significant because of the sword’s great value in the 11th century. 

One of the most warlike monarchs in the country’s history, he created a vast kingdom based on conquest and conducted long-term conflicts with most of his neighbours.CC BY-SA 3.0

Kowalski said that at the time it would have had a value equivalent to ‘several villages’.

Though it dates to the 11th century, it is not known when it went underground.

No other objects were found next to the sword, which rules out that it was a burial gift. 

Jakub Kaczmarczyk/PAP

A similar sword, which features a Christian cross, also dated to the 11th century, was found at the bottom of the surrounding lake in 2020.Jakub Kaczmarczyk/PAP

The exact location is being kept a closely guarded secret to deter treasure hunters from spoiling the archaeological site.

Kowalski hopes that CT scans will reveal whether the sword has any inscriptions, which could lead to identifying its owner.

At the moment, it is heavily corroded as it was lying directly in the ground not covered by any other material, which has led to significant corrosion.


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