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Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery

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Basic Information

Accession Number:1956A390
Collection:Antiquities - Ancient Cyprus


This sword was found in a grave on the outskirts of Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus. It was made when Cyprus' rich deposits of copper were first being seriously exploited. Copper is quite a soft metal. Bronze is harder and makes better tools and weapons. Most bronze is made by adding a little bit of tin to the copper, but this sword contains a mixture of 96% copper and 4% arsenic. Although arsenic hardens copper just as well as tin, it gives off poisonous vapours when it is smelted, so ancient smiths soon stopped using it.

Presented by James Steward, 1956.

Further Information

Reign:2700-2300 BC
Production Period:Early Cypriot - Philia
Place of Origin:Ayia Paraskevi, Nicosia District, Cyprus
Place of Excavation:Tomb 12
Ayia Paraskevi, Nicosia District, Cyprus


Height:432 mm