A keen-eyed archaeology student made the find of a lifetime when she spotted one of the oldest swords on record, mistakenly grouped with medieval artifacts in a secluded Italian museum.
The ancient sword was thought to be medieval in origin and maybe a few hundred years old at most — but studies have shown that it dates back about 5,000 years, to what is now eastern Turkey, where swords are thought to have been invented, in the early Bronze Age.
The weapon was spotted in November 2017 by Vittoria Dall’Armellina, who was then a doctoral student in archaeology at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. She had made a day trip to the monastery on San Lazzaro degli Armeni, a tiny island on the edge of the Venetian lagoon.
The visit had nothing to do with her studies, and she’d never been there before. “It was a pleasure trip,” Dall’Armellina told Live Science in an email.
When she spotted the sword among the medieval artifacts on display in the monastery’s small museum, Dall’Armellina was sure she’d seen its distinctive shape before, she said.