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Roman Swords are “A Remarkable Archaeological Find”

Two Roman cavalry swords were discovered by detectorist Glenn Manning during a detecting rally in the north of the Cotswolds. Curiously, it would seem that they were deposited in their wooden scabbards as fragments have survived.

Professor Simon James from Leicester University said that the weapons are middle imperial Roman swords commonly referred to as a spatha. They were in use in the Roman world from the later second century to the third century AD. Their considerable length suggests that they were intended for use on horseback and so could have been used by Roman cavalry. However, It was not illegal for civilians to own such weapons and to carry them for travelling because Roman provinces were plagued with banditry.

Prof. James, explained: “In terms of parallels, I can’t think of finds of more than one sword being deposited in any similar circumstance from Roman Britain. The closest that springs to mind was a pair of similar swords found in Canterbury—with their owners, face down in a pit within the city walls, clearly a clandestine burial, almost certainly a double murder.” 

The finds have been deposited the finds with the Corinium Museum in Cirencester to ensure their preservation.

Photo: Cotswold District Council

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson, said: “This new discovery shows what an incredibly deep history the Cotswolds has. People famously asked, ‘What have the Romans ever done for us?’. Well, they have just given us some amazing examples of weapons used almost 2000 years ago when Cirencester was the second biggest town in Britain. This is truly a remarkable archaeological find and I can’t wait for visitors to see them on display in the years to come.” 

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