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5,000-Year-Old Anatolian Weapon Discovered in the Armenian Monastery of Venice: It's Said to Belong to Father Ghevond Alishan

One of the oldest swords in the world that was mislabelled in a museum on the Saint Lazarus Island, Venice, is around 5,000 years old, according to a new study, The Daily Mail reports. 

The ultra-rare sword, which doesn’t resemble most ancient weapons in the world, was made around the year 3000BC and came from eastern Turkey.

However, the sword was contained in a cabinet as part of a medieval collection.

It was only when a local PhD student and expert in ancient weaponry noticed the sword that it was removed for further analysis to pinpoint its date.

Vittoria Dall’Armellina at Università Ca' Foscari in Venice saw the sword in a small cabinet surrounded by medieval items at the Mekhitarist Monastery on the Saint Lazarus Island in the Venetian Lagoon.

Mekhitarist Monastery, which is the headquarters of the Armenian Catholic Mekhitarist Congregation, includes museums, a church, residential quarters, a library, museums, picture gallery, printing plant and research facilities.

The Saint Lazarus Island sword turned out to be made of arsenical bronze, an alloy frequently used before the widespread diffusion of bronze.

This type of sword was found in a relatively small region in Eastern Anatolia, between the high course of the Euphrat and the Southern shore of the Black Sea. 

Further analysis of trace elements could further pinpoint the exact source of the metal.

Due to less than optimal conditions, it has not been possible to detect any traces of usage.

But it’s believed the sword travelled from Trebizond in Turkey to Venice in the second half of the 19th century.

This is due to an envelope containing a worn-out slip of paper that came with the sword.

The note on the paper, written in Armenian, talks about a donation to Father Ghevond Alishan, a famous poet and writer who died in Venice in 1901. 

Ghevond Alishan, who was a friend of English art critic John Ruskin, was born in Constantinople – now Istanbul – and travelled to Venice before his death. 

Further studies are being done on the weapon, the history of which is still 'shrouded with mystery'.  


The 5,000-year-old sword has no visible inscriptions, embellishments or distinctive features

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