Chinese warrior with sword

3000-year-old bronze sword discovered in China

(Read the article on one page)

An 11-year-old boy was washing his hands in the Laozhoulin River in Gaoyou County, China, when he felt something hard and metallic. He pulled out the object and found that it was a rusty sword, now identified as a 3,000-year-old ancient sword made from bronze. According to the news release in IBN Live , the relics bureau and municipal museum of Gaoyou City have sent a reward to the boy and his father in honour of their deeds of protecting and donating the cultural relic.

After fishing the sword out from the river, 11-year-old Yang Junxi took the relic home to his father, Yang Jinhai. As news spread around their town, locals began flocking to Yang’s home, with some offering high prices to purchase the artifact. However, Jinhai felt it was best to preserve the sword for its cultural value and sent it to the Gaoyou Cultural Relics Bureau.

The bureau organized a team of local cultural relics experts to identify the sword. Initial identifications found that the 26cm-long bronze sword could be dated back to around the time of the Shang and Zhou dynasties, more than 3,000 years ago, which is among the oldest swords ever recovered – the first bronze swords are believed to have first been developed in China around 3,200 years ago.

A bronze Shang dynasty sword

A bronze Shang dynasty sword. Credit: Huhan Provincial Museum *Note: Photo of sword this article refers to has not yet been released.

Sword production in China is believed to have started during the Bronze Age Shang Dynasty, from around 1200 BC. The technology for bronze swords reached its highpoint during the Warring States period and Qin Dynasty (221 BC – 207 BC). During this period, some unique technologies were used, such as casting high tin edges over softer, lower tin cores, or the application of diamond shaped patterns on the blade. Also unique for Chinese bronzes is the consistent use of high tin bronze (17-21% tin), which is very hard and breaks if stressed too far, whereas other cultures preferred lower tin bronze (usually 10%), which bends if stressed too far. Although iron swords were made alongside bronze, it wasn't until the early Han Dynasty that iron completely replaced bronze, making China the last place where bronze was used in swords.

According to Lyu Zhiwei, head of the cultural relics office of the bureau, the newly-discovered sword, which does not contain any decorative patterns, is an example of a bronze short sword, which was often used by civil officials for decorative or status reasons. Swords of this period were typically made from bronze with high tin content for the cutting edge and bronze with low tin content for the spine, resulting in a sword with hard and durable cutting edges and a flexible spine to absorb shock. There was also extensive use of copper sulphides as anti-corrosion coatings.

The sword is the second ancient bronze artifact to have been recovered from the Laozhoulin River in recent years. The river connects to China’s Grand Canal, which is the world’s longest artificial waterway with a history of more than 2,400 years.  Archaeological excavations of the river and nearby areas are planned for the future.

Featured image: A Chinese warrior with sword. Image source .

By April Holloway


A fantastic find. I am so glad that the sword did not go to the highest bidder, but instead to a museum where it can be studied as well as be seen by the people.

26cm-long bronze sword ?

This make it more like a dagger then :0)



angieblackmon's picture

This sounds like the plot of a movie where the child would go on a quest of some sort! What an amazing find!!! He'll have a story for generations!

love, light and blessings


rbflooringinstall's picture

that's pretty awesome. I wish I can find something awesome like that.

Peace and Love,


Register to become part of our active community, get updates, receive a monthly newsletter, and enjoy the benefits and rewards of our member point system OR just post your comment below as a Guest.

Human Origins

Ancient Technology

Roman glass (not the legendary flexible glass). Landesmuseum Württemberg, Stuttgart.
Imagine a glass you can bend and then watch it return to its original form. A glass that you drop but it doesn’t break. Stories say that an ancient Roman glassmaker had the technology to create a flexible glass, ‘vitrium flexile’, but a certain emperor decided the invention should not be.

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Next article