Limburg sword from Leiden returns to centre stage in Europe

8 March 2010

Sword of Buggenum, 1300-1100 B.C., made of bronzeSword of Buggenum, 1300-1100 B.C., made of bronze

In late February 2010, the 'sword of Buggenum', from the collection of the National Museum of Antiquities, was again in the spotlights of the European stage. The sword was made in Bavaria in Southern Germany between 1300 and 1100 B.C. After many excursions, it ended up in the river Meuse as an offering. Last century, the weapon came to the surface again during dredging work in Buggenum, a small town in Limburg. For some years, it has been the subject of research within the international programme entitled 'ancient charm'.

Sword studied with neutron radiation

In laboratories in Geel (Belgium), Munich and Oxford, the sword has been studied in recent years using neutron radiation. This is a research method that in no way damages an object. The studies yielded a great deal of new information about the sword, including how the blade was fastened to the hilt, the composition of the metal and how it was probably used over the course of the centuries. This was described in various publications including the Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry.

European Commissioner pays a visit

Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, the European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, visited the laboratory in Geel in late February 2010 to find out about the research methods occurring there. The sword of Buggenum served as one of the most remarkable examples of the research there. The sword was indubitably an impressive object from far away already in prehistoric times, and now it is again playing a leading part on the European stage.