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Edged Weapons

Complete swords are rarely found archaeologically; however, many fragments (the iron parts only) are often recovered from 17th- century Virginia sites.  Blade sections, basket hilts, guards, and pommels for a variety of edged weapons are represented in many  collections.            


Saber with blade, basket hilt, and pommel, from 44PG302

Basket, Pommel, and small section of blade from 44PG302


  44PG302/EU1002/F-404   Basket Hilt 803

Basket Hilt with silver inlay  from 44PG302


Plain basket hilt from 44PG302

Basket Hilts

Basket hilts, known in both England and Scotland by the mid-16th century, are originally associated with a long straight double-edge bladethe broadsword.  The basket pattern was also later adapted by the English for their mounted troops.  Many basket hilts for various blade types have been recovered from 17th-century Virginia archaeological sites.

44PG302/EU2100 F-430  Pommel 170  

Pommel from 44PG302 with silver inlay

44PG302/EU1105 F-409 S-II   Pommel 1201

Typical English ball type sword pommel 


The larger, oval, ball-type pommel is associated with the English double-edged broadsword and the basket hilt.


Decorated shell guard from 44CC178

44PG302/EU2117 F-430 S-2   Sword Guard 1036

Shell guard from 44PG302

Hanger Guards

Shell guards are more likely to be found on the English hanger, a short sword with at least one cutting edge, originally used by infantrymen. 


Dagger guard from 44PG302

Dagger Guard

Any sheathed knife may be called a dagger, but it came to refer to a double-bladed small knife, effective as a thrusting and stabbing weapon.

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