Story of a Mysterious Sword

It is the oldest metal weapon found today in the Tyrrhenian Sea and among the oldest in the entire Mediterranean basin.

A Spasso con Sara to discover the “Sword of Capo Linaro”.


This extraordinary bronze artefact was found in the waters in front of the tip of Capo Linaro. We are in Santa Marinella, just north of Rome, in an area where, during the first half of the third century BC, the Romans founded the maritime colony of Castrum Novum, to control the Etruscan coast of Caere (today Cerveteri).


The site of Castrum Novum and its distance from Rome.

The weapon began to tell its story again thanks to a citizen of Santa Marinella. Struck by the extraordinary discoveries that, since 2011, follow one another uninterruptedly in his city, Mr. Ottavio Borzone, decided to hand over the artifact to Flavio Enei, Director of the Civic Museum, after having found it in the cellar of his house among the objects of his father.


The “Sword of Capo Linaro”.


The “Sword of Capo Linaro” has a cuspidated, double-edged shape, is covered with marine incrustations and has no handle. It is about 43.5 cm long and weighs 380 grams. It dates back, on the basis of some comparisons, to the Recent Bronze Age (1350-1200 BC).

The mystery, however, envelops its origin and there are still many questions that bother archaeologists. The sword could, in fact, be identified either with a weapon that fell into the sea due to a shipwreck or have been thrown into the water specifically for ritual purposes. Considering the changes that have affected the landscape of the area over the centuries, it is also very likely that it belongs to a context located on the mainland, perhaps a tomb near the ancient beach. The raising of the water level along that stretch of coast would therefore have allowed its discovery on a seabed of 2-3 meters.


Reconstruction of the variation of the coastline of Ceare.

Posted by Sara Pandozzi

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