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Old 23rd June 2013, 10:36 AM   #1
ExLibris
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Default Katzbalger found at excavation and restored.

Dear forum members,

I'm currenly researching a sword that was found at an archaeological excavation of the medieval moat of the city of Eindhoven (the Netherlands) in 2007. The sword was returned in juni 2013 after a long restoration. The result is amazing! Because parts of the leather and wood were preserved, this sword is a kind of time capsule.

During my investigation I learned this sword is a Katzbalger, used by the Landsknechts in the 16th century. In this century Eindhoven was attacked several times. The most likely years that this sword was lost is probably 1542/1543, although there were also attacks on the town in 1529 and in the 1580's.

I have several questions about this sword:

- Where was it made? I presume in southern Germany or Switzerland.
- When was it made? The restorers dated it on 1550-1600, Cornelis Tromp from this forum dated it 1525-1550.
- In the scabbard were several tools found, like a Swiss army knife or a multi-tool. Was this common for this kind of swords of for swords in general?

Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge on this interesting object!

Rob
Before restauration

After restoration
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Old 23rd June 2013, 07:44 PM   #2
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Unbelievable, this relic turned into a sword again
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Old 24th June 2013, 09:37 AM   #3
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Fascinating
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Old 25th June 2013, 09:12 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ExLibris

- In the scabbard were several tools found, like a Swiss army knife or a multi-tool. Was this common for this kind of swords of for swords in general?



Could we get a close-up of the 5 tools?

I can't speak to to how common it is for Katzbalger swords, but it is not uncommon for tools to be associated. I am more familiar with the phenomenon in knives - occasionally happens in Ottoman Crete, and there's an excellent Persian example at http://www.swordforum.com/forums/sh...id-Persian-kard [see attached photo on, second post] - but I know it occurs elsewhere as well.

The association of a small knife (looking at the second tool of your five) with a sword is relatively common. I know this from later German hunting swords which are often paired with an associated knife, but it may be the case that this is common earlier as well. I do not know enough to comment on 16th century Netherlands.

For later German examples of a sword with small knife, see:
http://www.royalcollection.org.uk/c...rd-and-scabbard (knife not pictured, but included in description)
http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/...eb-8816110ecac0 (Auction has ended earlier today, so I think it's okay to post. Someone throw something at me if it isn't.)

There is a Spanish-made example which is 16th century at http://www.royalcollection.org.uk/c...fe-and-scabbard



I am not certain of the 4 tools other than the small knife; I would like a better photo to tell what they are. The 4th looks vaguely like a worm for a musket/arquebus, but take that with a grain of salt. Not sure what the two-pronged tool could possibly be in that context, and in any case not willing to commit to calling it a worm without zooming in a bit.



Really interesting find though, and amazing conservation work. Looks like there's still metallic iron left, but if the blade is down to just compact magnetite then kudos to the conservator for keeping it in one piece. Hell, even with metallic iron left, same; archaeological swords aren't easy things to conserve. Really, really nicely done, that.

Unrelated note, I don't suppose you have a nice, digitized x-ray of the hilt you'd be willing to part with? I'm far more interested in construction/manufacture methods for weapons than I am typology, and there's nothing quite like a good radiograph for that.
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Old 26th June 2013, 06:36 PM   #5
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AMAZING RESTORATION! I KNOW VERY LITTLE IN THIS FIELD BUT WILL MAKE SOME SUGGESTIONS TO LOOK INTO. THE TOOLS MAY INDICATE THE TRADE OF THE OWNER OF THE SWORD OR BE TOOLS FOR SERVICING SOME DEVICE HE WAS IN CHARGE OF. YOU MAY GET QUITE A LOT OF INFORMATION IF YOU CAN IDENTIFY THESE TOOLS AND THEIR USES PERHAPS IN A MEDEVIL TOOL FORUM. THERE SHOULD BE SOME GOOD INFORMATION FORTHCOMING ON THE SWORD AS THERE ARE MANY KNOWLEGABLE MEMBERS HERE. GOOD LUCK
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Old 29th June 2013, 08:49 AM   #6
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Just a little bump for the thread as I think the restoration is fairly amazing - I can't recall seeing an example that looked that far 'gone' being brought back to anything like that condition. I'm rather curious how they did it!
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Old 29th June 2013, 10:54 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iain
... I can't recall seeing an example that looked that far 'gone' being brought back to anything like that condition...

Amen
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Old 29th June 2013, 12:02 PM   #8
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Yes, I was thinking the same - it's hard to imagine that end result on the blade without some addition of new material but perhaps that's the difference between restoration and conservation.
It's certainly an amazing transformation and it would be interesting to know a little of the techniques involved. CC
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Old 2nd July 2013, 10:16 PM   #9
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I thought I had seen something similar:

McNab, C. (Editor) (2010). Swords: A Visual History. London, Dorling Kindersley Limited.

Horrid book if you're looking for information, but not a bad place to find examples. Pages 150-154 are useful to you. I'll upload reduced images on here per forum rules, and imgur link to the full res versions of the scans. Apologies for doing it in parts; my scanner isn't large enough to do the entire two page spreads.

Both are German, dated 1662. A bit late for your date range, but the associated toolkit looks very, very similar. Perhaps an earlier occurrence of the same purpose?

Imgur links (should be sufficiently high-res to read what text there is):
http://i.imgur.com/Ha0i5Sz.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/FhSf3cR.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/3FTI5Ib.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/SYJ91cP.jpg
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Old 7th July 2013, 07:25 PM   #10
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Exclamation short motivation

the Katzbalger with comb like the one under discussion is a very rare appearance among the already scarce known group of Katzbalgers.

The ones with a comb that I am aware of, I will enumerate them all, come from Dutch soil, Dutch museums and/or old Dutch collections.
This may be a coincidence, but it may also be that this type has been manufactured. in the Low Countries
the style attribute "comb" also occurs on helmets and body protection in the first half of the 16th century.
The Blade of two of the examples mentioned in this post can be traced to southern Germany;
-the blade of the Katzbalger in the Dutch army museum has crossed flails and bavarian arms, a checked shield struck into the blade of Melchior Diefstetter, a blade smith working in or around Munich in the second quarter of the 16th century (1520-1555). another found in Millingen has the Passau wolf inlaid in the blade.
There was a thriving trade of quality blades in the 16th century, it can be that this type was Katzbalger made or let say composed ​​in the Low Countries with an imported blade.

In art, the Katzbalger with comb sporadically appears, a clear example is a drawing made by Heinich Aldegrever and dated 1529.

1. Katzbalger legermuseum dated by JP Puype 1520-1550, blade by Melchior Diefstetter.
2. katzbalger, auctioned by Thomas del Mar in 2006 and dated in the second quarter of the 16th century.
3.Katzbalger found in Millingen and published by J.Ypey.
4.Katzbalger found in Rotterdam
5.katzbalger probably found in zeeland
6.Katzbalger in private collection, published by J.Ypey.
7. drawing By Heinrich Aldegrever.

best,
Jasper
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Last edited by cornelistromp : 7th July 2013 at 08:01 PM.
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Old 10th July 2013, 11:01 PM   #11
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Default Interesting!

I would hate to burst bubbles but I personally cannot believe that is an actual restoration and not a recreation. What's important to realize with a sword in a heavily excavated condition like that is that you're not just seeing a layer of rust on top but a complete decomposition and oxidation through the metal. From a conservation standpoint there is literally nothing you can do. There is nothing left to work with . Plus all of the pieces have essentially fused together making it impossible to access parts of the sword. Having handled pieces like this I can attest to how absolutely brittle they are. It would destroy the sword to even attempt to wipe at it let alone buff it. Hence, I am curious where you saw this. A link would be most welcome.

That said it is very cool! And even if it is a recreation it seems to really capture what this Katzbalger may have looked like in its working life.
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Old 12th July 2013, 10:48 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThisisDustin
I would hate to burst bubbles but I personally cannot believe that is an actual restoration and not a recreation. What's important to realize with a sword in a heavily excavated condition like that is that you're not just seeing a layer of rust on top but a complete decomposition and oxidation through the metal. From a conservation standpoint there is literally nothing you can do. There is nothing left to work with . Plus all of the pieces have essentially fused together making it impossible to access parts of the sword. Having handled pieces like this I can attest to how absolutely brittle they are. It would destroy the sword to even attempt to wipe at it let alone buff it. Hence, I am curious where you saw this. A link would be most welcome.

That said it is very cool! And even if it is a recreation it seems to really capture what this Katzbalger may have looked like in its working life.

I have a little more information I can not share unfortunately due to a possible future publication.
when I look at the pictures I see a water find in exceptionally good condition, even the cutting edges and thin point are not oxidized, do not be fooled by the buckling/nick and remains of organic material eg leather sheath.

a decomposition or strong oxidizing through the metal, is absolutely no question and not the case here.
I think it is a sublime carried out expert restoration.

best,

Last edited by cornelistromp : 12th July 2013 at 10:58 AM.
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Old 19th November 2013, 02:06 PM   #13
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I would like to add another landknechtsword with comb pommel, it is a composite sword cq. ex. Katzbalger found in 2012 in Oirschot/Netherlands.

the pommel and blade are belonging to a early (first half of 16thC) Katzbalger as the examples shown in this thread.
but the parry guard is of a later date (mid 16thC) and has been added later and adapted to the new sword function.The upper bracket and pas d'ane are broken off.

it looks like a developed Katzbalger without the 8 shaped guard.
very interesting is that it probably has been done in the 16thC.

also note the serrated edge of the pommel that can be seen even at some landsknecht dagger guards. fe http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showthread.php?t=15420

best,
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Old 19th November 2013, 04:33 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ExLibris
Dear forum members,

I'm currenly researching a sword that was found at an archaeological excavation of the medieval moat of the city of Eindhoven (the Netherlands) in 2007. The sword was returned in juni 2013 after a long restoration. The result is amazing! Because parts of the leather and wood were preserved, this sword is a kind of time capsule.

During my investigation I learned this sword is a Katzbalger, used by the Landsknechts in the 16th century. In this century Eindhoven was attacked several times. The most likely years that this sword was lost is probably 1542/1543, although there were also attacks on the town in 1529 and in the 1580's.

I have several questions about this sword:

- Where was it made? I presume in southern Germany or Switzerland.
- When was it made? The restorers dated it on 1550-1600, Cornelis Tromp from this forum dated it 1525-1550.
- In the scabbard were several tools found, like a Swiss army knife or a multi-tool. Was this common for this kind of swords of for swords in general?

Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge on this interesting object!

Rob
Before restauration

After restoration



Hi Rob,

On returning home from more than one year in hospital, I found your highly interesting thread und would like to add my two cents.

Based on the general form of the hilt, Cornelistromp is certainly right in assuming a span of ca. 1525-50, though I would confine the temporary limit to ca. 1515-30.

And yes, the accompanying tools in the sheath were absolute standard; in the Early Renaissance period, craftsmen tended to combine as many functions as possible in one item, cf. the girth bags ('purses' although they actually were a lot more than that) with their many tiny compartments for various sorts of coins, letters etc. The idea behind it was of course that the Landsknecht/mercenary who this Katzbalger belonged to was not required to tote additional eating utensils such as cutlery.


E.g., attached please find a portrait of Count Palatine Ottheinrich von der Pfalz, ca. 1550-55, the sheath of his fine Landsknecht-style sword featuring an integral set of bodkins (is there such a plural? ), German: Beibesteck, comprising knife, two-spiked fork, awl (for mending clothes) and pricker. Actually, what is the fifth of the tools in the sheath of 'your' sword?

Please see also my thread
http://www.vikingsword.com/vb/showt...ght=katzbalgers



Best,
Michael
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Last edited by Matchlock : 19th November 2013 at 05:09 PM.
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Old 19th November 2013, 06:12 PM   #15
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herewith a close up of the tools.

best,
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Old 20th November 2013, 05:21 PM   #16
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Great, Cornelis, thank you!

Here we have are another superb example of 16th c. combination tools:
the one on top acted as a scourer for the barrel of an arquebus (which of course makes this the Katzbalger of a Doppelsöldner!), one is combined with a screwdriver, another is threaded for acting as a corkscrew ..

Best,
Michael
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Old 20th November 2013, 06:21 PM   #17
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while studying various katzbalgers in museums and private collections , I found that this interesting weapon was subject to fashion of the time.
I will not list all features here, only those features that are relevant to the dating of the excavated Katzbalger in # 1 .

early katzbalgers often have a twisted eight shaped guard , round in cross section , and when there are mythical creatures chiselled in the guard are these larger and recognizably realistic in appearance , 1 mythical creature per guardarm, 2 per sword . see the Example A datable around 1525.
in later often developed Katzbalger hilts around the mid of the 16tthc , the twisted guard gradually disappears and is replaced by a guard which is triangular or rhomboid in cross section , the mythical creatures have become very stylistical and less recognizable and there are often 2 animalheads per arm , so 4 per sword .


if you look at the guard of Katzbalger of post1 , see picture B , you can see that this guard is of a later type; triangular in cross-section with four stylistically carved mythical creatures .

A fully developed Katzbalger in my collection ,picture C datable around 1550, has a guard which is quite similar in terms of style .
A guard triangular in cross-section and with 4 similar stylistic mythical creatures chiselled in the guard.

the Katzbalger of #1 is found at the main gate/old entrance of Eindhoven.

Three events can be mentioned in which the katzbalger may have ended in the canal in front of the city entrance.

1. In 1528, a major blow against the Gelderlanders was delivered at Eindhoven , they were being driven back.

2. In 1543 Maarten van Rossum took the city of Eindhoven with an Army of 15000 men, plundered it and took the castle Cranendonck.

3. in the early 16thC most cities in the Netherlands had restrictive municipal ordinances, it was not possible to get into the city with swords and daggers above a certain blade length.
at cannels in front of old city gates swords and daggers can still be found, they were likely thrown in by the city guard after inspection.
So many ballock daggers and some swords have been recently found in the cannels of Haarlem that treasure hunting is now prohibited there.


it's hard to tell where the Katzbalger has been made.
because Katzbalger with comb pommel is found primarily in the Netherlands, an assumption that it is a Dutch weapon with probably a german imported blade, is to justify
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Old 20th November 2013, 06:31 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matchlock
Great, Cornelis, thank you!

Here we have are another superb example of 16th c. combination tools:
the one on top acted as a scourer for the barrel of an arquebus (which of course makes this the Katzbalger of a Doppelsöldner!), one is combined with a screwdriver, another is threaded for acting as a corkscrew ..

Best,
Michael


Hi Michael,

you are welcome, I expected it to be the tools of an arquebusier
does a doppelsoeldner not mean that some landsknechts were fighting at both sides ?

best,
jasper
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Old 20th November 2013, 06:55 PM   #19
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Hi Jasper,

In the scientifically acknowledged analysis of original 15th/16th c. sources, Doppelsöldner means a Landsknecht who was trained to wield double fighting power and consequently, in addition to his Katzbalger, either carried a hand-and-a-half or a two-handed sword, or, alternatively, an arquebus.
Of course, when applying for a new 'job', he had to demonstrate his abilities and when he was successful got double pay.


Attached please find early-16th c. egravings.
The caption to the first image says Doppeldöldner.
In attachment #3 you can clearly identify the bodkins in the Katzbalger sheath.


Best,
Michael
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Last edited by Matchlock : 20th November 2013 at 09:14 PM.
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Old 21st November 2013, 07:00 AM   #20
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yes you are right, these were the mercenaries with multiple weaponskills, deployed in the front line, and were paid double for this increased risk.

moreover, the scabbard construction of your image 3 in post 19, with the wrapped leather strap has great similarities with the Katzbalger found. see picture collection.
further, it is remarkable how much organic matter there has been preserved at this find.

addition to post#17 a spot or hate print about Maarten van Rossum.
Maarten van Rossum is dressed as a landsknecht with an early Katzbalger.
the ruthless way in which he waged war, was greatly feared. In his long career of warefare he frequently did use his motto: "glow and burn is the jewel of the war" in practice.He and his troops were feared and hated.


if someone has an old print of the troops of maarten van Rossum, please post it in this thread.
I am wondering if there is proof of landsknechts in his army appearing in the picture.


best,
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Old 23rd November 2013, 01:12 PM   #21
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2 pictures of landsknechts with tools attached to the Katzbalger scabberd.
it looks like that 5-9 different combination tools were worn more often by mercenaries.

Indeed, the predecessor of the swiss army knife.

best,
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Old 23rd November 2013, 07:06 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cornelistromp
... it looks like that 5-9 different combination tools were worn more often by mercenaries.

Indeed, the predecessor of the swiss army knife...


Most interesting perspective, Jasper .
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Old 25th November 2013, 07:53 AM   #23
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Hi Fernando,

This option was given in post 1 but I agree.

here are detailed photos of beautiful landsknecht two handers, with the stylistic characteristic mythical creatures to see on katzbalger guards.

around the mid of the 16th century these mythical creatures are more abstract.
Also note the pommels of the two swords they also came on katzbalgers.

Pictures © Carl Koppeschaar , thanks Carl
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Old 27th November 2013, 06:00 PM   #24
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I forgot the close ups of the lovely landsknecht pommels of the above posted 2 handers.



especially the star-shaped pommels are great looking and impressive

here they are!
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Old 30th November 2013, 08:14 AM   #25
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a landsknecht two hand sword from the armory of Solothurn, Switzerland.
see the similarity in the style of the guard with the Katzbalger found.
The mythical creature here is still very realistic in shape, even de eyes are visible, suggesting an earlier date from 1520 to 1530.
the Katzbalger under discussion has stylistically shaped mythical creatures spitting the guard from the mouth.

best,
jasper





© Carl Koppeschaar
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Old 4th December 2013, 06:09 PM   #26
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Amazing find
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Old 27th December 2015, 01:46 PM   #27
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Hi Rob, Hi all together,

here is a late question to the first posting from Rob.

Where is the sword now? He/You wrote "The sword was returned in june 2013 after a long restoration".

Is it in a museum in Eindhoven? Exhibited?

kind regards
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Old 27th June 2017, 12:02 PM   #28
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Sorry for my very late response to this thread. Thank you for all your great replies.


I researched the sword a few years ago. With the results of my findings I made this short film on Youtube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlSi0zCIu10

Quote:
Hi Rob, Hi all together, here is a late question to the first posting from Rob. Where is the sword now? He/You wrote "The sword was returned in june 2013 after a long restoration". Is it in a museum in Eindhoven? Exhibited? kind regards Enibas


The sword is on display in the Heritage House (Erfgoedhuis) in Eindhoven. It is a sort of museum, but they do not call it like that.

If there is any interest, maybe it is a idea to invite members of this forum to the Heritage House in Eindhoven, where I can show the sword en tell the story behind it.

Further one last question: Last week I was in the Armeemuseum in Ingolstadt in Germany. One of the people who works there told me, someone from Hamburg is writing a book about Katzbalgers in Europe. Does anyone his/her name? Maybe our Katzbalger is a good addition to the book, because it is a sword dug up from an excavation.

Rob
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