Archaeologists were prepping the ancient talayot site to be opened as a museum when they found the invaluable artifact that they believe was deliberately left there as a ceremonial offering.
A 3,200-year-old sword was recently unearthed on the Spanish island of Mallorca in the town of Puigpunyent. According to Ancient Origins, the “Talaiot del Serral de ses Abelles” site is home to large stone megaliths called talayot (or talaiot), which date from 1000 to 6000 B.C.
Mallorcan historian and archaeologist Guillem Rossello Bordoy first excavated the talayot in 1950. Nearly seven decades later, archaeologists Jaume Deya and Pablo Galera stumbled upon the relic dating from 1200 B.C. in remarkable condition.
“Apart from the tip of the blade appeared to have been snapped in the ground,” according to The Daily Star, the artifact is stunningly well preserved despite its age. It’s one of the very few weapons from the Bronze Age found at the site, giving researchers a clearer glimpse into the past.
According to The Daily Mail, Deya and Galera were initially not confident they would find anything at all.
“It was a huge surprise,” said Deya. “We did not expect to find anything like this because the area had already been excavated.”
Their team was actually prepping the location to be opened as a museum when they found the relic. Fortunately for us, the moment was captured on film:
The sword is currently believed to be only one of 10 that have ever been found from the Talaiotic culture. Besides this most recent discovery, they were all found by farmers or builders who encountered them by chance.
While Deya and Galera certainly discovered this latest sword by chance, they’re established archaeologists — and there’s a procedural difference between the two scenarios.
According to The Archaeology News Network, being handed ancient relics by civilians doesn’t allow experts to “properly research the artifacts as they did not know where and how they were found.”
With this most recent excavation, researchers are confident the sword was left at the site intentionally. This has led to speculation of it having been used as an offering, given that the talayot megaliths were believed to have served as ceremonial sites.
On the other hand, some experts think the talayot structures were used for defensive purposes to protect their land. Regardless of the intentions leading to the sword’s resting place, experts think the sword belonged to a noble or a wealthy family.
As it stands, the sword is being analyzed by a team of experts. All elements related to its discovery could provide potential clues and insight into the Talaiotic culture of the time. The find might firmly establish that weapons were just as valid of an offering as traditional items, for instance.
Ultimately, the 3,200-year-old sword is giving archaeologists, researchers, and historians an opportunity to see through the nebulous Bronze Age fog. From how people interacted with the talayot to their religious ethos to what their weaponry was like — it’s finds like these that clarify the past.
The sword’s final resting place will soon be the Museum of Mallorca.
After learning about this ancient 3,200-year-old sword found in Mallorca, read about the eight-year-old girl who pulled a 1,500-year-old sword out of a Swedish lake. Then, learn about the 1,200-year-old Viking sword discovered on a Norwegian mountain.