Archaeologists have discovered a remarkably well-preserved short scramasax sword in Skelby in southeastern Sweden. Despite the fact that the wooden hilt of the sword is so well preserved that it looks like new, the artifact dates back to the end of the first millennium AD.
The length of found scramasax is about 46 centimeters, and its hilt is decorated with carved patterns. By the style of the blade experts determined that the artifact belongs to the period VII-IX centuries AD. It was probably buried deep in silt at the bottom of a well for a millennium. The anaerobic environment helped to preserve the wooden hilt in its pristine state. In the archaeological laboratory the sword was examined under a microscope. Experts determined that the hilt was made of hard wood.
Cultural layer more than 1000 years old
The artifact was found in a cultural layer more than 1,000 years old. Archaeologists extracted it together with a large layer of earth from the bottom of the well back in 2021. It was fully cleaned later in the archaeological laboratory of the Acta Conservation Center in Uppsala. And only now the experts have presented the results of their study.
The use of wells in the Iron Age
There were several scattered villages in the Skelby area during the Iron Age. In those days wells were used for different purposes. At first they were traditional water sources, but later wells could also be used as sacred places for sacrifices to the gods and as garbage pits.
Archaeologists believe that the scramasax was not thrown away, but offered as a sacrifice because such swords were extremely valuable objects. It was thrown into a well as an offering, it is unlikely that such a sword could have been lost by accident. Moreover, scramasaxes are usually found inside the graves of prominent warriors who were buried with the most valuable possessions they possessed during their lifetime.
Archaeological finds are always unique and allow us to better understand the history of our world. The discovery of such a well-preserved Scramasax sword in Skelby in southeastern Sweden is not only a find for scientists, but also an opportunity to look into the history of our world and learn more about the life of our ancestors.