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Medieval Marvel: ‘Extremely Rare’ 14th-Century Treasure Discovered in Swiss Castle

Archaeologists Discover Rare 14th Century Gauntlet in Switzerland
Source: MEGA

Archaeologists in Switzerland have discovered an extremely well-preserved piece of medieval armor.

Feb. 4 2024, Published 9:04 a.m. ET

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Archaeologists engaged in an excavation project around Kyburg Castle in Switzerland, near the German border, have uncovered a rare 14th-century gauntlet.

The remarkable find emerged during the exploration of a medieval weaving cellar that had burned down in the 14th century, leading to the discovery of the exceptionally well-preserved gauntlet.

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The Zurich canton, overseeing the excavation project near Kyburg Castle, currently a heritage site and museum, labeled the find as "sensational."

According to the official announcement from canton Zurich, the medieval weaving cellar, likely associated with forging activities, was located southeast of the castle during the excavations.

Among the discovered items at the site, a fully preserved gauntlet of armor and additional fragments of its counterpart were found. The canton shared this noteworthy discovery on Facebook, featuring a video of archaeologist Lorena Burkhardt, who headed the project.

The Facebook post emphasized the unprecedented nature of the find, stating, "Never before has such a well-preserved and complete gauntlet from the 14th century appeared in Switzerland." It raised intriguing questions about the gauntlet's owner and whether it was newly crafted in the Kyburg forge or had seen battle.

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Gauntlets, worn by European soldiers as armored gloves, have a history dating back to the 11th century. However, most preserved specimens in museums are from the 15th century or later.

Consequently, the discovery of a 14th-century gauntlet is considered "extremely rare," and archaeologists are astonished by its exceptional condition.

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Describing the gauntlet in detail, the announcement from Zurich canton explained that it is a four-fold finger glove on the right hand, featuring individual iron plates arranged like scales and connected with side rivets. The components were attached to a leather or textile carrier material, sewn onto a textile finger glove.

The announcement noted that only five other gauntlets from this period have been found during archaeological excavations in Switzerland, none of which are as well-preserved or detailed as the Kyburg gauntlet.

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Archaeologists speculated that the site of the gauntlet's discovery must have been near a forge, as over 50 remarkably preserved iron objects were found in the area, including a hammer, tweezers, pliers, keys, knives and bullet points.

A permanent exhibit featuring a replica of the gauntlet and a reconstructed version of the armored glove will be showcased at Kyburg Castle, open to the public starting March 29. Additionally, the original gauntlet will be displayed at the museum for a limited three-week period, starting on Sept. 7, 2024, European Heritage Day.

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