2,000-Year-Old Roman Soldier’s Dagger Found in Germany

The restored dagger and sheath, following nine months of sandblasting and grinding (LWL / Eugen Müsch)

Archaeology Intern Unearths Spectacular 2,000-Year-Old Roman Dagger

by Katherine J. Wu/Smithsonianmag.com

As far as internships go, Nico Calman arguably had an especially good one.

During his stint with the Westphalia Department for the Preservation and Care of Field Monuments in Germany last year, 19-year-old Calman unearthed a 2,000-year-old silver dagger that may have helped the Romans wage war against a Germanic tribe in the first century A.D.

Discovered still in its sheath in the grave of a soldier at the archaeological site of Haltern am See (Haltern at the Lake), the weapon was nearly unrecognizable thanks to centuries of corrosion. But nine months of meticulous sandblasting revealed a spectacularly ornamented 13-inch-long blade and sheath that once hung from a matching leather belt, reports Laura Geggel for Live Science.

“This combination of a completely preserved blade, sheath, and belt, together with the important information about precisely where they were found, is without parallel,” Michael Rind, director of archaeology at the Westphalia-Lippe council, tells Oliver Moody of the Times.

Dating to the Augustan period, which lasted from 37 B.C. to 14 A.D., the blade and its accessories likely had a front-row seat to some of the most humiliating defeats in early Roman history, according to the Times. At that time, Haltern, which sat…


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