Gift of the River: A Late Bronze Age sword with cup-shaped pommel from the river Sava


  • Aleksandar Jašarević Regional Museum in Doboj



Late Bronze Age, metal-hilted sword, Posavina, northern Bosnia, Ha B1 period


This paper presents a Late Bronze Age sword of the Schalenknauf type, or full-hilted sword with cupshaped pommels, from the site of Poloj, near Gradiška in Northern Bosnia. Due to its unique features, the artifact cannot be attributed to any known specific variant. It is dated to the final phase of the Late Bronze Age (Ha B1 period or ca. tenth century BC). As with most stray finds, information on its archeological context is very scarce. In all likelihood, it was made in Central Europe and seems to have ended to the south through a long-distance exchange mechanism. Wear traces indicate prolonged use and maintenance as a functional weapon for an extended period of time. Like many contemporary swords, it ended its life by being deposited in the river or, more likely, in its marshy backswamps around the banks of the Sava in the vicinity of Gradiška. The presence of still-unrepaired traces of combat suggests that cycles of combat and repair ceased relatively shortly after a battle, when the deposition took place. The paper also discusses the symbolic language of metal-hilted swords as highly important transmitters of identities.




How to Cite

Jašarević, A. (2023). Gift of the River: A Late Bronze Age sword with cup-shaped pommel from the river Sava. Studia Praehistorica, 17, 243–252.