An amateur archaeologist named Lucas Schmid has found a Roman dagger believed to have been buried in 15 B.C.E. When he reported his discovery, professional archaeologists began combing the site and found an abundance of Roman and Raetian artifacts.
In 15 B.C.E. Roman legionaries went to battle with the tribesmen in modern-day Switzerland to gain power over the region. It has been suggested by archaeologists that a Roman soldier might have buried the dagger after the battle as a gesture of gratitude for the victory.
Schmid's good fortune, or determined work with his metal detector, are to thank for this rare find as only four other such daggers have ever been found throughout the vast region that was once the Roman Empire.
The long-dead Roman soldier, with Schmid's help, has allowed modern historians to fill in an empty page of history regarding the "lost battle" between Roman legionaries and Raetian tribesmen.
The dental student, Lucas Schmid, chose his location after learning of a 2003 archaeological excavation which revealed clues that a Roman army had been in the area in ancient times. When he began scanning the area near Tiefencastel, Switzerland in 2018, it was believed that nothing more would be found at the site. The following year, Schmid found his dagger in the mountainous region.
I suspected that the entire site had not been searched meticulously yet...it was clear to me that more artifacts could be expected. (Lucas Schmid in an email interview with Live Science)
On that spring day in 2019, Schmid's metal detector picked up a faint presence of metal below the surface and Schmid assumed it to be a small bit of metal. However, as he began digging, he realized it was a large object buried deeply. The silver and brass dagger is about a foot long.
After reporting his find to the authorities who issued his permit to search the area, Schmid joined the archaeologists who arrived to conduct a more thorough investigation of the ancient battleground which produced hundreds of hidden artifacts. Items on the list include fragments of swords, slingshots, spearheads, and shoe nails.