An archeology enthusiast found a 2,000-year-old dagger that eventually uncovered an entire Roman battlefield.
A metal detector located the ancient weapon in Switzerland’s remote southeast Graubünden canton region.
The site was previously thought to be void of ancient remains. However, dental student Lucas Schmid proved this theory wrong.
“I suspected that the entire site had not been searched meticulously yet,” he told Live Science.
The amateur archeologist scouted the site and became overjoyed after unearthing an ornate dagger, measuring 12 inches (30 centimeters) long.
“I did not expect to find such an important item at this rather unlikely place,” he said according to the publication.
The iron weapon is embellished with a silver and brass inlay, typical of the type pierced to the ground by a Roman legionary after a victorious battle.
The dagger is rare with only four of its kind discovered at the time of publication.
New pugio: this rare #Roman pugio (dagger) decorated with inlays (silver and brass) was discovered in Crap Ses, Switzerland, in 2019 with other military equipment and has now been restored. So far, only four examples of this type are known.— Nina Willburger (@DrNWillburger) September 7, 2021
Schmid brought this find to the attention of archaeologists from the Archäologischen Dienst Graubünden, and University of Basel.
Together they unearthed hundreds more remnants, scattered over more than 370,000 square feet (35,000 square meters). This included spearheads, lead slingshots, shield fragments, coins, and even shoe nails.
Peter Schwarz, provincial Roman archaeology professor at the University of Basel, estimates about 1,500 Roman soldiers participated in the ancient battle.
Schwarz suspects the conflict affected a relatively small group compared to larger Roman battles across Europe.
He concluded the Romans had battled with the Rhaetian people, who were native to the eastern Alps. This region includes parts of modern-day Austria and Italy. The Romans took over the land and dubbed it Rhaetia under Caesar Augustus.