2,000-year-old silver dagger used by Roman soldier unearthed by scientists

Archaeologists made a stunning discovery in Germany: a 2,000-year-old silver dagger in the grave of a Roman soldier.

The dagger was unearthed in its sheath at an ancient burial ground in Haltern am See, in western Germany, located near a former Roman military camp that was built about 2,000 years ago.

A 19-year-old intern named Nico Calman discovered the dagger and sheath during a dig, according to Live Science.

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When it was first found, the corroded dagger and sheath looked a bit like a chicken tender. (LWL/Josef Mühlenbrock)

When it was first found, the corroded dagger and sheath looked a bit like a chicken tender. (LWL/Josef Mühlenbrock)
(LWL/Josef Mühlenbrock)

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The weapon first had to be X-rayed and CT scanned. Due to extreme corrosion, it took scientists nine months of sandblasting and grinding to restore the 13-inch-long weapon to its former glory.

Bettina Tremmel, an archaeologist at the Westphalie Department for the Preservation and Care of Field Monuments in Germany, who took part in the excavation, described the find as unusual.

“The discovery of the dagger was emotional. We were lost for words,” Tremmel told Live Science. “Imagine: Though thousands of Roman soldiers were stationed in Haltern over almost 15 years or more, there are only a few finds of weapons, especially complete and intact ones.”

The restorer was able to remove the dagger from its sheath.

The restorer was able to remove the dagger from its sheath.
(LWL-Römermuseum Haltern am See/Facebook)

Tremmel explained that the dagger was probably used by an infantryman or an officer known as a centurion.

The restored dagger will be displayed publicly at the Roman Museum in Haltern in 2022.

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