Medieval Arrowhead Recovered From a Well in Estonia

News June 14, 2024

PÄRNU COUNTY, ESTONIA—According to an ERR News report, a medieval Scandinavian arrowhead thought to have been left at the site after a battle has been recovered from a well in southwestern Estonia. The Swedish garrison stationed at Lihula Castle, which stood on the site, was attacked by Estonian forces from the island of Saaremaa in 1220. A chronicle of the battle, written by Henry of Livonia, states that the Saaremma islanders “played with the Swedes like a cat with a mouse.” Henry of Livonia also wrote that 500 Swedes were killed in the battle, said archaeologist Mihkel Tammet of the Keskvere Cultural Center. “This may be an exaggeration, but probably not by much, as Lihula Castle was well-defended and could easily have had around a hundred defenders,” he explained. Little else is known about the battle, other than that the Bishop of Linköping and a man known as Jarl Karl the Deaf were killed. The Estonian victory prevented further Swedish expansion into Estonia for several hundred years, Tammet added. Archaeologist Mati Mandl suggests that soldiers killed during the battle may have been buried at a nearby church, and additional investigations are being planned. Artifacts dated from the fourteenth through the seventeenth centuries were also recovered from the historic fill in the well. To read about the Swedish origins of Vikings who were buried in Estonia, go to "Largest Viking DNA Study," one of Archaeology's Top 10 Discoveries of 2020.

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