Skull of Finland’s medieval swordsman may show evidence of a violent death.

Photo via YLE of an archaeologist excavating the swordsman's grave last November.

Photo via YLE of an archaeologist excavating the swordsman’s grave last November.

Last November the grave of a swordsman was found in a field in southern Finland by group of “amateur historians” using a metal detector.  Archaeologists recently finished initial examinations on remains, thought to date to the medieval period, and they think it’s possible that the warrior’s bones may show signs of a brutal death.

Researchers with Finland’s National Board of Antiquities performed tomographic scans of the swordsman’s skull, which revealed traces of two injuries, one of which may have been fatal.

Simo Vanhatalo of the National Board of Antiquities told YLE (news outlet in Finland), “The deceased had a small incision at the back of the skull, which may have been caused by some kind of sharp object, but the wound later healed.  Behind the ear there is a round hole which looks like it was inflicted by a spiked object. However this is still to be confirmed.”

Vanhatalo added that the good condition of swordsman’s teeth indicate that he may have been a wealthy individual.  “The teeth are in very good condition and there is a high level of calcium left in the skull.  In other words, the deceased was well fed. More in-depth research will then reveal whether he had any diseases or other health issues. It could well be that the deceased really was a swordsman and had been in battle,”

The National Board of Antiquities will soon complete carbon dating tests that will give archaeologists a better estimate when he died.   They also hope to do a facial reconstruction with the skull

Last November, the metal detectorist group was in the area because the field showed signs of a prehistoric settlement.  The “amateur historians” started digging when the metal detector alerted on some “minor objects.”  When the group uncovered a spear tip, an axe blade, and a broken sword they contacted Finland’s National Board of Antiquities (NBA).  The grave contained two swords from two different time periods: a 4 foot long sword dating to the 12th century; a Viking-age blade that shows signs of being in a fire, possibly from a cremation.

Below is a video of archaeologists removing one of the swords from the grave.


Finland’s 1,000-year old unknown swordsman may have met a violent end. (2014).  Retrieved January 8, 2014 from:


The grave of a 12th century warrior has been discovered in South Finland…by hobbyists with a metal detector.

Categories: Archaeology, History

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