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posted by janrinok on Monday January 23, @04:25PM   Printer-friendly
from the what-this-hunk-of-junk? dept.

Scientists were surprised to learn the sword's true age:

If you visit the Field Museum in Chicago for its First Kings of Europe exhibit that opens March 31, keep an eye out for a ragged, unassuming sword. It has a special backstory. The Field Museum had thought it was a convincing replica of a Bronze Age sword. Turns out, it's the real thing.

The sword is around 3,000 years old. The museum acquired the artifact almost a century ago. It was first discovered in the 1930s in the Danube River in Budapest, Hungary. It may have ended up there as part of a ritual for the dead.

Field Museum scientists with specialities in chemistry and archaeology examined the sword with an X-ray fluorescence detector, a device that can determine what an object is composed of. "When they compared the sword's chemical makeup to other known Bronze Age swords in Europe, their content of bronze, copper and tin were nearly identical," the Field Museum said in a statement this week.

Tracing the sword to its rightful place in history was unexpected. "Usually this story goes the other way round. What we think is an original turns out to be a fake," said Bill Parkinson, curator of anthropology.


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  • (Score: 3, Touché) by SomeRandomGeek on Monday January 23, @04:45PM (5 children)

    by SomeRandomGeek (856) on Monday January 23, @04:45PM (#1288200)

    Having read TFS, I was really curious as to how the sword got categorized as a replica in the first place. Sadly, TFA has nothing more to say on that subject. Presumably there is some juicy tale of mistrust or incompetence there. "No, I really did find it in the river!"

    • (Score: 1) by crotherm on Monday January 23, @05:58PM

      by crotherm (5427) on Monday January 23, @05:58PM (#1288215)

      Maybe some moistened bint needs to be questioned.

    • (Score: 3, Funny) by sjames on Monday January 23, @06:17PM (1 child)

      by sjames (2882) on Monday January 23, @06:17PM (#1288219) Journal
      You can’t expect to wield supreme executive power just ’cause some watery tart threw a sword at you!
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 23, @07:34PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 23, @07:34PM (#1288239)

        Excalibur's identity must remain secret until it's returned to the Lady in the Lake.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2C8fB8p6crY [youtube.com]

    • (Score: 2) by darkfeline on Tuesday January 24, @12:01AM

      by darkfeline (1030) on Tuesday January 24, @12:01AM (#1288271) Homepage

      Doesn't seem too unusual. Replicas are common, when you don't want the original displayed e.g. in a museum for whatever reason (original was loaned out, undergoing research/restoration, requires special preservation, etc.). At some point someone mixed up the replica and original (if you met a wide variety of people, you should have a good idea of what the average level of attention to detail is).

      --
      Join the SDF Public Access UNIX System today!
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by KritonK on Tuesday January 24, @08:41AM

      by KritonK (465) on Tuesday January 24, @08:41AM (#1288338)

      TFA describes the sword as "ragged, unassuming", but looking at the accompanying photo, the metal appears to be in remarkably good condition. Other bronze swords, that I've seen in museums, look more like piles of green rust. Perhaps it was this good condition that made them think that it was a modern copy.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by krishnoid on Monday January 23, @06:56PM (1 child)

    by krishnoid (1156) on Monday January 23, @06:56PM (#1288231)

    If you find yourself in Chicago, the nightlife is cool, but try to budget some time to see the museums. We're in the Internet age now, but the size and scale (and variety) of them is still very cool. The aquarium is nice too, but is unfairly outclassed by some of the ones on the coasts.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 23, @07:32PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 23, @07:32PM (#1288238)

      And they just got a new professional rugby team [chicagohounds.com] that will be playing in a few weeks!

  • (Score: -1, Troll) by billbellum on Tuesday January 24, @10:35PM

    by billbellum (18539) on Tuesday January 24, @10:35PM (#1288442)

    Next, they'll probably discover that aristarchus was also not a replica.

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