SZ-38 knife

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Classification: knife
Archaeological type: slashing knife
Material: iron
Size: length 20cm, width max. 5.4 cm, thickness 0.5 cm
Condition: fragmentary
Archaeological culture: Late Iron Age
Date: 5th–1st centuries BC
Date derived from: archaeological context

Site: Sanzeno (Trento, Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy)
Field name: Casalini
Archaeological context: settlement, section D
Coordinates (approx.): 46° 21' 57.60" N, 11° 4' 30.00" E [from site]
Find date: 1950–1951
Find circumstances: excavation
Current location: Castello del Buonconsiglio (repository)
Inventory Nr.: 8067

Inscription: SZ-38 (ṣχsi)

Sources: Fogolari 1960: 276 (No. 68)
Nothdurfter 1979: 114 (No. 8), pl. 1.8


Fragment of an iron knife.
Curved, short rectangular hilt; the marginal areas slightly increased, with two small hooks. The above-mentioned dimensions correspond with the indications given by Nothdurfter (cp. Nothdurfter 1979: 114).
On the blade incised characters, probably the manufacturer's mark or a number (cp. Fogolari 1960: 276). The inscription was first mentioned by Pellegrini (cp. Pellegrini 1951: 316, fig. 18 [only transcription of the inscription]). Further references: Vetter 1954: 72–73; IR: 272. However, Pellegrini, Vetter as well as Mancini only with regard to the inscription.
The knife fragment was found in Sanzeno during the offical excavation from 1950 to 1951. The object was discovered with other findings in section D of the settlement. The map and the here used number 68 indicates the exact place of discovery of the knife (cp. for the map: Fogolari 1960: pl. A; for the excavation in Sanzeno from 1950 to 1951 cp. Fogolari 1960: 268–277).
The entire material discovered in Sanzeno dates to the late Iron age period, i.e. from the 5th century BC to the Roman period (cp. Fogolari 1960: 269). Therefore the knife fragment must also date to this timeframe.
The knife was assumed to be a sword by Fogolari (cp. Fogolari 1960: 276: "Parte di spada in ferro"). Pellegrini, Vetter, Mancini as well as Schumacher follow this indication and mention always an inscription on a sword. However, in reality the indicated sword is a slashing knife. The present knife could be identified with the fragmentary slashing knife listed by Nothdurfter (cp. Nothdurfter 1979: 114 [No. 8]). According to Fogolari the object is preserved at the Castello del Buonconsiglio (cp. Fogolari 1960: 268, fn. 4). Nothdurfter notes in addition the inventory number 8067/A 1128 (cp. Nothdurfter 1979: 114). This information cannot be verified anymore because of the missing label at the object. However, the index card No. 8067 corresponds to the present fragmentary knife. Therefore, the information given by Nothdurfter is correct. The indication "A 1128" refers to the numeration concerning an earlier, not longer valid schedule of the Museo Nazionale, the former name of the Castello del Buonconsiglio.
So far not autopsied by the Thesaurus Inscriptionum Raeticarum. The indications follow the information given in literature (cp. below the bibliography) as well as the kind support of the Castello del Buonconsiglio.


Fogolari 1960 Giulia Fogolari, "Sanzeno nell'Anaunia", in: Deputazione di Storia Patria per le Province di Romagna (Eds), Civiltà del Ferro. Studi pubblicati nella ricorrenza centenaria della scoperta di Villanova [= Documenti e studi VI], Bologna: Forni 1960, 265–321.
IR Alberto Mancini, "Iscrizioni retiche", Studi Etruschi 43 (1975), 249–306.