In July, a Chinese boy a rusty sword out of a river in east China’s Jiangsu province.
Eleven-year-old Yank Junxi was washing his hands in the Laozhoulin River when he felt something hard in the mud. When he discovered it was a sword, he took it home to his father, Yang Jinhai.
News of the sword spread quickly around the village, and according to wantchinatimes.com, Yang was offered “high prices” for it.
Instead, he sent it off to the Gaoyou Cultural Relics Bureau on Sept. 3.
This week, the bureau identified it as a relic more than 3000 years old.
Yangzi Evening Daily reports that it dates back to the Shangzou period and has “serious archaeological value”.
The bureau and the Gaoyou Museum, which will now take custody of the sword, gave Yang Jr a certificate and a cash reward.
Lu Zhike, head of the bureau, said the sword was in surprisingly good shape, leading some to draw comparison with the almost legendary Sword of Goujian, a 2000-year-old relic found in near perfect condition in a tomb in Jiangling County.
While the Jiangsu sword is hardly near perfect (keeping in mind it’s a 1000 years older) Lu said its design made it a weapon most likely owned by an “able man” of the Shangzou period.
“The short sword seems a status symbol of a civil official,” he told local media.
“There was no characteristic or decorative pattern on the exquisite bronze sword. Made in a time of relatively low productivity, its owner would have been an able man with the qualification to have such an artifact.
“It has both decorative and practical functions, but is not in the shape of sword for military officers.”