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Rare Roman cavalry swords found during metal detectorist rally

Two Roman cavalry swords have been uncovered during a metal detectorists rally in the north of the Cotswolds, England.

The discovery was reported to Kurt Adams, a Finds Liaison Officer from the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS), an organisation managed by the British Museum which records archaeological finds found by the public.

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The two swords have been identified as spatha’s, a type of straight and long sword used by Roman cavalry during the AD 160s, through the later second century and far into the third century AD.

Professor Simon James from Leicester University said: “In terms of parallels, I can’t think of finds of more than one sword being deposited in any similar circumstance from Roman Britain. The closest that springs to mind was a pair of similar swords found in Canterbury—with their owners, face down in a pit within the city walls, clearly a clandestine burial, almost certainly a double murder.”

The discovery has been placed in the care of the Corinium Museum to ensure their preservation, with Historic England assisting the museum by arranging for the swords to undergo an analysis under x-ray.

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson, said: “This new discovery shows what an incredibly deep history the Cotswolds has. People famously asked, ‘What have the Romans ever done for us?’. Well, they have just given us some amazing examples of weapons used almost 2000 years ago when Cirencester was the second biggest town in Britain. This is truly a remarkable archaeological find and I can’t wait for visitors to see them on display in the years to come.”

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Cotswold District Council

Header Image Credit : Cotswold District Council

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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.
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