CHICAGO — An ancient sword that was originally catalogued at the Field Museum as a replica turned out to be the real deal.
The sword dates back 3,000 years to the “Bronze Era” and was pulled from the Danube River in Budapest in the 1930s.
It is believed to have been tossed in the water to lost loved ones or was used in battle.
The Field Museum acquired the sword almost 100 years ago from the Hungary National Museum — thinking it was a well-made replica.
Last year, a Hungarian archaeologist came to the museum to collaborate on an upcoming exhibition. The archeologist said he thought the sword was real after spending time with it.
After some back and forth conversation, archeologists and museum officials used an X-ray gun to analyze the sword’s chemical makeup.
That’s when they got the ultimate surprise.
“If this is bronze, this should be copper and tin and it should be a specific amount of copper with some other stuff that’s mixed in,” William Parkinson with the Field Museum said. “Bam! Right where it should be.”
The sword is on display for museum visitors now as a preview of an exhibition called “First Kings of Europe” opening at the end of March. The sword will not be included in the exhibition, but visitors can expect to see similar objects from southeastern Europe, spanning thousands of years.