Policia Nacional recover 2,000-year-old Iberian sword

Iberian sword
Image: Policia Nacional

Policia Nacional has recovered a 2,000-year-old Iberian sword just before it was sold online on what they have called a “well-known social media site”. The rare sword would have belonged to a warrior somewhere on the Iberian peninsula in pre-Roman times. 

The falcata is a double-edged, curved sword that would have been used by the Iberians between the 5th and 1st centuries BC. It was seized as part of a group lot of 203 archaeological pieces that had been posted for sale on social media. 

This particular sword would be very popular with collectors due to the condition of the blade on the piece. Falcatas were personal weapons and they tended to be buried with their owners with the blades deliberately bent and misshapen so no one else could wield the weapon. 


“The investigation began after officers discovered that a social media user had posted on a well-known site about an Iberian falcata, with a bird’s head hilt, that had been plundered,” the Policía Nacional said in a statement.

“Following various efforts to confirm the existence of the archaeological piece, determine its location and recover it, investigators managed to track down the person offering it for sale, who turned out to be a Spanish citizen living in the [Andalusían] province of Jaén.”

Police said the undamaged blade of the falcata “significantly increased its value as it is very rare to find examples in this condition”. It was discovered with arrowheads, jewellery and ceramic fragments amongst other items. All of which has been confiscated and a man has been arrested on suspicion of misappropriation and a historical heritage offence. 

According to the National Archaeological Museum of Spain, “a complete design process was used to define and tailor a falcata to the needs of its user,” reads an entry on the museum’s website relating to another 2,000-year-old Iberian sword discovered in the neighbouring province of Córdoba.

“Nothing was left to chance when it came to ensuring it did its job as well as possible … The result is a consistent and tough design. Its curved, asymmetric shape distributes the weight to concentrate force and the union with the hilt is reinforced to stop it being fragile, while the double-edge blade makes it versatile.”

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