About this object

Villanovan T-hilt sword of copper alloy (bronze), with flanged hilt and crescent-shaped pommel. Blade is symmetrical, with double cutting edge and central spine, the planes from spine to cutting edges slightly concave. The hilt is formed of a continuation of the blade with raised flanges and traces of iron rivets to secure the (now lost) hilt, presumably originally of organic material. On each side of the central spine are carefully executed parallel lines rendered in cold work on the surface.
The sword has been attributed by Drs. Ellen Macnamara and Anna Maria Bietti Sestieri to the Vulci group of the Early Iron Age, as known from southern Etruscan and South Italian finds. They have identified traces of what must have been a fine bronze sheath in shadow on the blade, and note that the missing hilt plates were possibly of wood, and were fastened to the sword by iron rivets.
Conservation report 2.4.92 suggests that corrosion conditions indicate the partial burial of the hilt end to a greater extent, exposing this portion to more intense humidity (and thus corrosion) than the blade.

Object specifics

  • Type
  • Culture
  • Artist/Maker
  • Place made
    Europe: Southern Europe: Italy
  • Date made
    8th Century BC mid
  • Materials
  • Location
    Item not currently on display
  • Acquisition
    Puchased from Sotheby & Co Auction House
  • Collector
  • Place collected
  • Date collected
  • Measurements
    11 mm x 56 mm x 475 mm
  • Related people
    Sotheby's ( Previous owner)

Explore related


  • Catalogue of Etruscan Objects in World Museum, Liverpool

    MacIntosh Turfa, Jean; Muskett, Georgina

    Author: MacIntosh Turfa, Jean; Muskett, Georgina
    Publisher: Archaeopress Publishing Ltd
    Date: 2017
    Description: One of the finest collections of Etruscan artifacts outside of Italy was begun in the 19th century by Joseph Mayer, goldsmith, of Liverpool. His donation of the collection became the core of Liverpool Museum, now World Museum, and has been augmented over the years by additional gifts and other acquisitions, such as those from the Wellcome Collection and Norwich Castle Museum. Much of the original material came from the necropolis of Vulci (Canino) when it was excavated by Lucien Bonaparte, Prince of Canino, while additional objects represent several other cities and sites. Already famous for its gold jewellery and bronze vessels of the 6th to 4th centuries BCE, the Liverpool collection includes a fine selection of Etruscan vases, especially bucchero ware and Archaic painted vases, several scarab seals in semiprecious stones, a small number of carved ivories, and funerary urns, including that of Larui Helesa, in which were found gold earrings identical to those worn by her colourful effigy on its lid. A large group of bronze fibulae (safety-pins) furnish examples of most major types of those important ornaments of the Iron Age and Archaic periods. Engraved bronze mirrors and terracotta votives in the form of heads and body parts (such as uteri) of the 4th and 3rd centuries BCE illustrate myths and offerings that were essential to Etruscan religion. From a Villanovan sword to Hellenistic epitaphs, the Liverpool Etruscan and Italian collection offers a rare glimpse of early civilization in central Italy.


  • Sotheby's Auction House Sale 25 July 1966

    Start date: 1966-07-25
    End date: 1966-07-25
    Description: Sotheby's Sale


Previous owners

  • Sotheby's

    Owned from: Unknown or unrecorded
    How acquired: Unknown or unrecorded
    Owned until: 1966-06-19
    Disposal method: Sold
Object view = Humanities
Have 7 place tagsPage load time: 78 ms