'Unbelievable' 5000 Year-Old Sword Discovered In Italian Monastery

It's a story as old as stories: The young hero, introduced to a more magical world by an older mentor figure, becomes warden to an ancient and mystical weapon. In J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, Bilbo had Sting. In Star Wars, Luke had his father's lightsaber. Sixty years after Bilbo's adventure, Frodo had Sting again, which just goes to show that the rumors are true and Sting has crazy stamina. Recently, in the Saint Lazarus monastery in Venice, events have unfolded which echo this monomythic story structure ... just, you know, with more reading, paperwork, and other nerd stuff. 

Ca' Foscari University PhD student Vittoria Dall'Armellina was on a tour of the monastery in 2017, when she spotted a sword in a display case, which struck her as being a little off. The weapon in question was labeled as a medieval artifact, and Dall'Armellina cried foul. Her well-informed hunch was right: What was believed to be a surviving relic from the Middle Ages has, after years of research, now been identified as a roughly 5,000 year old artifact, making it one of the oldest swords on record.

The cutting edge of archaeology

The sword, which has been dated to around the third millennium BC, is made up of what's called "arsenical bronze," a copper-arsenic alloy used before the widespread utilization of standard bronze. According to CNN, the shape and chemical makeup of the weapon are similar to specimens found in Eastern Anatolia and the Sivas region of Turkey. Dall'Armellina stated that the sword's shape was what initially gave her pause, reminding her of her work studying bronze age funerary objects. Further investigation revealed that the sword had arrived at Saint Lazarus after travelling from Turkey in 1886. The discovery was described as "unbelievable" by Dall'Armellina's doctoral supervisor, Professor Elena Rova.

The sword now has its own display case, and has garnered public interest since its origins were revealed. The government of Turkey remains quiet on the subject of whether Dall'Armellina is now the nation's king, as dictated by Arthurian story etiquette, but with any luck, an announcement will come along any day now.