Archaeologists Uncover Origins of 1,000-Year-Old ‘Excálibur’ Sword Unearthed in Spain

Photo Credit: Ajuntament de València / Archaeology Service (SIAM) / Press Release
Photo Credit: Ajuntament de València / Archaeology Service (SIAM) / Press Release

Archaeologists in Valencia, Spain, have revealed new details about the region’s very own Excálibur sword, with recent research and examination dating it back over 1,000 years. According to the team, this is one of only a handful of similar discoveries to be made in the region, making it a particularly unique find.

The sword was found sticking out of an ancient grave during a house excavation in 1994 and was quickly dubbed Excálibur for its resemblance to the mythical sword wielded by King Arthur. Efforts were made to discern its origins, but researchers were unable to find any concrete information – and for 30 years, that was the end of the story.

In early 2024, Valencia’s archaeology department revisited the discovery, with significant developments being announced in an April 22 press release. According to the release, the sword dates back to the 10th century. It’s the first such weapon unearthed in Valencia to date back to the Islamic period, largely because the soil makes the preservation of such artifacts difficult.

Additional details about Excálibur were also revealed, such as its length (46 centimeters) and design – the blade curves slightly at the tip. This is where the initial confusion lay, with the release explaining that “Visigothic swords had a similar shape.” It was only when the sedimentary strata was examined that the weapon was able to be dated to the Islamic period.

“The size of the weapon and the absence of a hand guard suggest that it could have been used by a horseman from the Andalusian caliphal era,” the release reads. “It is also likely that it is an evolution of Visigothic models but, for municipal technicians, there is no doubt that it belongs to the Islamic period of Balansiya.”

The Al-Andalus Empire ruled the Iberian Peninsula from the early 700s to the middle of the 11th century. Prior to this time, the region experienced conflict between the Arab, Byzantine and Visigothic forces.

In the release, Councilor for Cultural Action, Heritage and Cultural Resources José Luis Moreno said, “This sword has a unique design that gives it great archaeological and heritage value, so we have a new treasure in this Islamic Excalibur and a historical legacy of ancient Balansiya.”

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It’s reported that only one other such sword has been unearthed, in the ancient remains of Medina Azahara. Research into the weapon was conducted as part of ongoing cataloging and review work by the Municipal Archaeology Society (SIAM).

Clare Fitzgerald

Clare Fitzgerald is a Writer and Editor with eight years of experience in the online content sphere. Graduating with a Bachelor of Arts from King’s University College at Western University, her portfolio includes coverage of digital media, current affairs, history and true crime.

Among her accomplishments are being the Founder of the true crime blog, Stories of the Unsolved, which garners between 400,000 and 500,000 views annually, and a contributor for John Lordan’s Seriously Mysterious podcast. Prior to its hiatus, she also served as the Head of Content for UK YouTube publication, TenEighty Magazine.

In her spare time, Clare likes to play Pokemon GO and re-watch Heartland over and over (and over) again. She’ll also rave about her three Maltese dogs whenever she gets the chance.

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