Archaeology: 5,000-year-old sword discovered in Venice

Discovered by PhD student Ca' Foscari, donated in 19th century

28 February, 14:01

    (ANSAmed) - VENICE, FEBRUARY 28 - A 5,000 year-old sword, among the oldest Anatolian weapons in the world, was discovered by a PhD student at the University Ca' Foscari in Venice, Vittoria Dall'Armellina, in a monastery on the island of San Lazzaro degli Armeni in the Lagoon City. The weapon is at the museum of San Lazzaro. It is a small sword, located in a window together with Medieval objects. The sword however is very similar to 5,000-year-old weapons discovered inside the Royal palace in Arslantepe, eastern Anatolia, believed to be the most ancient in the world.

    The museum of Tokat (Turkey) had a similar sword from the region of Sivas, which is extremely similar to the one in San Lazzaro.

    Once it was established that the sword was not present in the catalogue of ancient Middle Eastern objects at the museum, in agreement with Elena Rova, a professor of archaeology at the Department of humanistic studies and her supervisor, Dall'Armellina continued her research. Scientific tests confirmed that the sword is similar to the most ancient in the world, dating back to 3,000 BC, not only in shape but in the composition of the metal. Then research focused on how it came to the monastery and its connection to the community of the Armenian fathers. The research was carried out by consulting Father Serafino Jamourlian, of the mekhitarist monastery of San Lazzaro, who was able to partly solve the question by consulting the archives of the museum. The sword arrived from Trabzon to Venice, donated by an art merchant and collector, Yervant Khorasandjian, in the mid-1800s, according to an envelope. It was found with other objects in an area called Kavak. Ghevond Alishan, a famous poet and writer who was friends with John Ruskin, a monk with the congregation and a researcher, died in Venice in 1901. It is thougth therefore that this episode dates back to the last decades of the 19th century. The analysis on the metal's composition has been carried out in collaboration with Professor Ivana Angelini and (Centro Interdipartimentale di Ricerca Studio e Conservazione dei Beni Archeologici, Architettonici e Storico-Artistici) Ciba at the University of Padua.

    The sword is made of a type of copper and tin frequently used before the Bronze age. This data and the marked similarity with twin swords in Arslantepe, allowed to date it between the end of the 6th and start of the 3rd millennium BC and to confirm that it was a very rare type. (ANSAmed)
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