Archaeologists unearth rare sword from time of the Kalmar War

Archaeologists from Arkeologerna have unearthed an early 17th century sword from the time of the Kalmar War.

The Kalmar War was a conflict between Denmark–Norway and Sweden that lasted from 1611 to 1613. The war was the result of ongoing disputes over trade routes, due to Denmark–Norway controlling a monopoly through the strait between the Baltic Sea and the North Sea.

- Advertisement -

Sweden sought to establish an alternate route through Lapland to avoid paying a toll on the use of the Øresund, or “Sound” strait, a toll that constituted up to two thirds of Denmark’s state income in the 16th and 17th centuries.

King Christian IV of Denmark and Norway protested to the Swedish King, Charles IX, but his protests over the new route was ignored. Finally, in April 1611, in response to Sweden’s claim of a traditionally Norwegian area in Northern Norway, Denmark-Norway declared war upon Sweden and invaded.

A force of 6,000 Danish troops was sent to Kalmar to lay siege to the city and castle. For centuries, Kalmar was of strategic importance, even being described as ‘the key to Sweden’, as the city and fortress controlled the Kalmar Straight and access to the north along the Swedish east coast towards Stockholm.

Although the city fell to the Danes, they were unable to completely subdue the Swedish forces, resulting in the signing of the Peace of Knäred in January 1613.

- Advertisement -
Image Credit : Arkeologerna – CC BY

Archaeologists from Arkeologerna have been excavating a stone cellar in the old town of Kalmar, located at the intersection of the Kungsgatan and Västerlånggatan roads.

The researchers believe that the cellar may be part of a medieval farm, which by referencing against contemporary texts, suggests that it was once owned by Gotskalk Hulskede in 1368. Other sources document the farm in 1483, however, the farm appears to have been burned down in the summer of 1611 during the time of the Kalmar War.

The floor of the cellar was covered with broken brick, stone and wood (likely from the upper floors of the buildings) as well as two heavily fire-damaged hand grinders and a pile of burnt grains.

Two heavily fire-damaged hand grinders – Image Credit : Arkeologerna – CC BY

While removing the collapsed material, the team uncovered a rare Danish sword, which according to specialists, shows an evolutionary leap from a medieval sword to more modern designs that would eventually dominate the 17th century battlefield.

In a statement issued by Arkeologerna: “At the time of the Kalmar War, the European armies were in a turning point – the military revolution – where new tactics and weapon systems were being tested. This find fits well into the arsenal of the time.”


Header Image Credit : Arkeologerna – CC BY


- Advertisement -
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan
Mark Milligan is multi-award-winning journalist and the Managing Editor at HeritageDaily. His background is in archaeology and computer science, having written over 7,500 articles across several online publications. Mark is a member of the Association of British Science Writers (ABSW), the World Federation of Science Journalists, and in 2023 was the recipient of the British Citizen Award for Education, the BCA Medal of Honour, and the UK Prime Minister's Points of Light Award.

Mobile Application


Related Articles

Archaeologists search crash site of WWII B-17 for lost pilot

Archaeologists from Cotswold Archaeology are excavating the crash site of a WWII B-17 Flying Fortress in an English woodland.

Roman Era tomb found guarded by carved bull heads

Archaeologists excavating at the ancient Tharsa necropolis have uncovered a Roman Era tomb guarded by two carved bull heads.

Revolutionary war barracks discovered at Colonial Williamsburg

Archaeologists excavating at Colonial Williamsburg have discovered a barracks for soldiers of the Continental Army during the American War of Independence.

Pleistocene hunter-gatherers settled in Cyprus thousands of years earlier than previously thought

Archaeologists have found that Pleistocene hunter-gatherers settled in Cyprus thousands of years earlier than previously thought.

Groundbreaking study reveals new insights into chosen locations of pyramids’ sites

A groundbreaking study, published in the journal Communications Earth & Environment, has revealed why the largest concentration of pyramids in Egypt were built along a narrow desert strip.

Soldiers’ graffiti depicting hangings found on door at Dover Castle

Conservation of a Georgian door at Dover Castle has revealed etchings depicting hangings and graffiti from time of French Revolution.

Archaeologists find Roman villa with ornate indoor plunge pool

Archaeologists from the National Institute of Cultural Heritage have uncovered a Roman villa with an indoor plunge pool during excavations at the port city of Durrës, Albania.

Archaeologists excavate medieval timber hall

Archaeologists from the University of York have returned to Skipsea in East Yorkshire, England, to excavate the remains of a medieval timber hall.