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A keen-eyed archaeology student made the find of a lifetime when she spotted one of the oldest swords on record, mistakenly grouped with medieval artifacts in a secluded Italian museum.
The ancient sword was thought to be medieval in origin and maybe a few hundred years old at most — but studies have shown that it dates back about 5,000 years, to what is now eastern Turkey, where swords are thought to have been invented, in the early Bronze Age.
Research into the monastery's archives by Father Serafino Jamourlian revealed that the sword had been sent in a donation of gifts from an Armenian art collector named Yervant Khorasandjian, to a monk named Ghevond Alishan, known as Father Leonzio, about 150 years ago. Alishan was a famous poet and writer who was a friend of the famed English art critic John Ruskin; Alishan died in 1901, and his belongings passed on to his monastery.