Medieval Weapons at the British Museum

The British Museum is home to some of the world’s greatest treasures from antiquity. It also holds a beautiful collection of medieval items, including those that were found as part of the Sutton Hoo discovery. As one wanders throught the many rooms of the museum you can come across various weapons from the Middle Ages. Here are our five favourite medieval weapons at the British Museum:

Sutton Hoo Sword

Although having spent centuries buried in the ground has left the Sutton Hoo sword’s 72 cm-long blade rusted, this remains one of the most iconic weapons held by the British Museum.

Viking Battle-Axe

This item was discovered in the Thames River in the 19th century and dates between 9th and 11th centuries. The British Museum explains “this battle-axe was a fearsome weapon. Held in both hands, it was brutally powerful but also left the warrior vulnerable because he could not hold a shield at the same time.”


This medieval mace was part of the original collection of the British Museum, bequeathed by Sir Hans Sloane in 1753. The item was discovered in Windsor, and may have originally been kept at Windsor Castle.


One of the main weapons of the samurai, this long sword was designed with a strong curve towards the hilt that allows it to cut better. This blade was made in the year 1521 by Sukesada, a swordsmith in western Japan, who used a hamon or wave-pattern in its steel.

Anglo-Saxon spearheads

These spearheads were also part of the Sutton Hoo collection. Spears are the most common weapon found in Anglo-Saxon graves, and some of these items come from mainland Europe and are of Frankish origin.

You can visit the British Museum for free - visit their website to learn more.

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