Virginia State Seal

Virginia Department of Historic Resources

Sword Parts from DHR Collections

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.

Click on images to see enlarged versions.

 

Image
Saber with blade, basket hilt, and pommel, from 44PG302
Image
Basket, Pommel, and small section of blade 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 blade—the 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.

Click on images to see enlarged versions.

Image
Basket Hilt with silver inlay  from 44PG302
Image
Plain basket hilt from 44PG302

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Click on images to see enlarged versions.

Photo
Pommel from 44PG302 with silver inlay
Image
Typical English ball type sword pommel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Click on images to see enlarged versions.

Decorated shell guard from 44CC178
Image
Shell 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.

Image
Dagger guard from 44PG302

 

 

Updated April 11, 2018