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Artifacts found on 700-year-old battle 'site'

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Photo: Zug office of monuments and archeology
08:09 CEST+02:00
Archeologists have found 14th century artifacts on what could be the site of the Battle of Morgarten, when soldiers of the Swiss confederacy ambushed Austrian soldiers in a victory that consolidated the nascent nation of Switzerland 700 years ago.

In what is being hailed as a significant discovery, the find includes coins, knives, arrows and a cavalier's spur in the Morgarten plain on the border of the cantons of Schwyz and Zug, the SDA news agency reported on Thursday.

The two cantons authorized the archeological search, conducted by scientists and monitored by a team from the science magazine program Einstein, broadcast by SRF.

The two cantons agreed to the search in part to forestall trophy hunters and grave robbers, SDA said.

The objects found do not prove that the Battle of Morgarten, one of the most famous in Swiss history books, took place at the site, but they appear to support that possibility.

Among the objects found are 12 silver coins - Pfennigs - dating from 1275 to the start of the 14th century, which would be consistent with the 1315 battle date.

Various arms dating from the 14th century were also found, including two knives, a knife scabbard and two arrows from a crossbow or bow.

Other items, including knives and horse shoes were more difficult to date.

“The objects are so exciting my heart beats faster,” Stefan Hochuli, Zug cantonal archeologist, told the 20 Minuten newspaper.

The finds mark the first time “archeological objects” have been found in the area where the famous battle is suspected to have taken place, Hochuli said.

Archeologists also uncovered older items, including jewellery and a bronze buckle dating from between the seventh and tenth century.

Some of the items will be on display at the Museum Burg Zug from Friday to July 31st.

They will later be shown at the Bundesbriefmuseum in Schwyz from August 22nd to September 30th.

The discovery has been publicized ahead of a three-day festival, starting on Friday, to commemorate the 700-year-old battle in the Agëri Valley.

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A display by the Patrouille Suisse, the Swiss Air Force's aerobatic team, is part of the festivities, along with parachute jumpers from the Swiss Army.

A “medieval market” is planned along with music.

An official act of commemoration of the battle is planned on Sunday when a procession of locals in traditional costumes is planned and Ueli Maurer, minister of defence, will make a speech.

Other activities are planned on the plain along Lake Agëri in the months of August, September and November.
 

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