This Week In History News, Jan. 28 – Feb. 3

Published February 2, 2024

Ancient knife inscribed with runes found in Denmark, Roman toilet spoon unearthed in Wales, Maya jade mask discovered in Guatemala.

1,900-Year-Old Knife Inscribed With Runes Uncovered At A Gravesite On A Danish Island

Ancient Blade From Denmark

Rógvi N. Johansen/Museum OdenseWhen the knife was first unearthed in 2021, researchers believed it was an ordinary blade — until they started cleaning off its layer of rust and realized that a runic inscription had been hiding underneath all along.

During an excavation on the Danish island of Funen in 2021, archaeologists uncovered a knife dating back to approximately 150 C.E. as part of an ancient gravesite. And though they believed it was an ordinary blade at first, they soon discovered something hidden under its layer of rust.

The cleaned knife proved to feature a runic inscription that’s believed to be the oldest ever uncovered in Denmark. Written in the Elder Futhark script that was prevalent in the area between the second and tenth centuries C.E., this runic inscription spells out “hirila,” which means “little sword” in Old Norse.

Learn more about this extraordinary find here.

Ancient Roman “Toilet Spoon” Discovered By Metal Detectorist In Wales

Roman Toilet Spoon

Museum WalesThe Roman toilet spoon may have served a number of different purposes in ancient Britain.

Valentinas Avdejevas was walking through the Vale of Glamorgan in South Wales in June 2020, sweeping his metal detector over the ground, when he suddenly got a hit. Avdejevas had come across a Roman toilet spoon made of silver, a curious ancient object with multiple purposes.

Now, the Roman toilet spoon has been designated as a treasure in Wales under the Treasure Act 1996, along with other items found recently in the Vale of Glamorgan. So what exactly is this unusual object?

Dig deeper in this report.

Jade Mask Discovered In The Tomb Of A Maya King In Guatemala

Maya Jade Mask

Rubén Salgado EscuderoThe mask was discovered in an ancient pyramid in Guatemala that had been looted by grave robbers.

While studying the ancient site of Chochkitam in Petén, Guatemala, archaeologists made two startling discoveries. First, grave robbers had already tunneled into the remains of an ancient pyramid. And secondly, the looters had overlooked an area within the pyramid’s inner chamber.

When the archaeologists went to excavate the chamber themselves, they came across a number of stunning treasures, including an interlocking jade mask that seemingly once belonged to a Maya king.

Read on here.

All That's Interesting
A New York-based publisher established in 2010, All That's Interesting brings together subject-level experts in history, true crime, and science to share stories that illuminate our world.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.