Archaeologists find Crusader Era cemetery and sword

Archaeologists conducting excavations in the town of Salo in Finland have uncovered a cemetery containing Crusader Era burials.

The Crusader Era in Finland refers to the period when Swedes brought Christianity to Finland, known as the First Swedish Crusade. Academics debate whether this crusade actually took place, as there’s no corroborating archaeological data and the earliest written sources of the crusade are from the late 13th century.

- Advertisement -

In August 2023, a local landowner noticed an iron object in the soil removed to place a pipe trench in the vicinity of a medieval stone church. Upon closer inspection, the object appeared to be a sword, which was reported to archaeologists from Turku University and the Turku Museum Centre.

According to the researchers, the sword, which dates from between AD 1050 to 1150 during the Crusader Era, was found with a bent blade, a bar-like straight hilt, and a three-sided oval pommel. In the soil pile, archaeologists also found part of the scabbard, additional blade pieces from the sword, iron objects, and human remains.

Image Credit : Juha Ruohonen

One of the most notable finds is a leather belt with thirty square rosette-patterned bronze ornaments. This was found with a buckle, several end and animal head buckles, strap dividers, and parts of the leather still preserved.

A wider study has confirmed a mortuary cemetery, evidenced by grave pattern along the pipe trench that suggests possibly dozens or even hundreds more burials remain in situ.

- Advertisement -

According to a press announcement by the Turk University, “The observation can be considered very significant from a research point of view, because cremation cemeteries from the time of the Crusades are clearly less known in Finland than cremation cemeteries that preceded them in time. So far, this is also the only confirmed burials dating to the end of the Iron Age from the Salon or Uskelanjoki valley. Also notable, is the fact that the deceased have been buried in the cemetery with Christian customs.”

Turk University

Header Image Credit : Riikka Saarinen

- 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 8,000 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

Dragon sculpture found on the Jiankou section of the Great Wall of China

Archaeologists conducting restoration works on the Jiankou section of the Great Wall of China have discovered an ornate dragon sculpture.

Waters at Roman Bath may have super healing properties

A new study, published in the Microbe journal, has uncovered a diverse array of microorganisms in the geothermal waters at Roman Bath that may have super healing properties.

9,000-year-old Neolithic stone mask unveiled

A rare stone mask from the Neolithic period has been unveiled for the first time by the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

Archaeologists recover two medieval grave slabs from submerged shipwreck

Underwater archaeologists from Bournemouth University have recovered two medieval grave slabs from a shipwreck off the coast of Dorset, England.

Study confirms palace of King Ghezo was site of voodoo blood rituals

A study, published in the journal Proteomics, presents new evidence to suggest that voodoo blood rituals were performed at the palace of King Ghezo.

Archaeologists search for home of infamous Tower of London prisoner

A team of archaeologists are searching for the home of Sir Arthur Haselrig, a leader of the Parliamentary opposition to Charles I, and whose attempted arrest sparked the English Civil War.

Tartessian plaque depicting warrior scenes found near Guareña

Archaeologists from the Institute of Archaeology of Mérida (IAM) and the CSIC have uncovered a slate plaque depicting warrior scenes at the Casas del Turuñuelo archaeological site.

Archaeologists find a necropolis of stillborn babies

Excavations by the National Institute for Preventive Archaeological Research (Inrap) have unearthed a necropolis for stillborn and young children in the historic centre of Auxerre, France.