There are a number of factors that accelerate or slow the 'decay' of iron and steel once buried in soil.
The 'drainage' of the surrounding land caused by the type of soil, the type of underlying strata (bed rock) and location i.e. tops of hills drain well....river valleys do not.
The mineralization of the soil....high content of mineral salts create good 'electrolytic' reactions.....speeding up the rust... with the presence of moisture.
Objects submerged in wet highly organic soils generally 'rot' more slowly due to the anaerobic (without oxygen) environment .....this is due to the fact that iron (steel) cannot easily oxidise (i.e. iron oxide= rust).
I am sure there are a number of individuals (fakers) that have various 'recipes' and techniques that can recreate these effects ..... you only have to look on eBay and see the number of 'genuine' crusader swords found in the Danube (with very low reserve prices
) , antique swords from China
, rusty heavily pitted Zulu "Iklwa" that are claimed to be from the Zulu wars (but made a few years ago
) and the increasing influx of 'old' Khandas and Khyber knives with pitted,rusty blades ....recently made in India .... afterall the 'older' it looks ...the more is paid
Rant over ....deep breath and
Gene, I really wish this was a Seax but the shape etc is not right ...according to some web resources the clip point with a false edge 'materialised' around the 1830's...so perhaps an early Bowie (as already suggested) ...apparently early types were fitted 'into' the handle...as the tang on this one suggests.
Any luck with the rust removal ?
Kind Regards David