Boatman discovers 18th century Asian sword in River Towy


The bed of a Welsh river is probably one of the last places you would expect to uncover a historic Asian artefact.

But one boatman on the River Towy was in for a surprise when he discovered an 18th century Kris sword while casting his net.

An investigation is underway to see how it reached the River Towy, and how long it has been there.

One boatman on the River Towy was in for a surprise when he discovered an 18th century Kris sword while casting his net

One boatman on the River Towy was in for a surprise when he discovered an 18th century Kris sword while casting his net

One boatman on the River Towy was in for a surprise when he discovered an 18th century Kris sword while casting his net

THE SWORD

Experts believe that the sword is ‘kris’ of Asian origin, south east Asia, Malaysia.

While most strongly associated with the culture of Indonesia the kris is also indigenous to Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei, Singapore and the Philippines where it is known as kalis with variants existing as a sword rather than a dagger. 

The kris is famous for its distinctive wavy blade, although many have straight blades as well. 

Mr Andrew Davies, a coracleman from Carmarthen, dredged up the sword while casting his net.

Mr Davies, who is chairman of the Carmarthen Coracle and Netsman Association, told Wales Online: ‘I was out one night in my coracle and the net was cast, when I pulled it in there was this sword in there.

‘It was quite a surprise to be honest, not the usual sort of catch.

‘I was just between the two river bridges where coracle fishing takes place and this was found just below B&Q.

Mr Davies added: ‘I took it straight up to the museum because I thought it would be good to get it checked and to find out anything about it.

‘I’d love to know how did it end up in the Towy, it’s fascinating.’

Gavin Evans, curator at Carmarthenshire museum, said he had sent photos of the rusted and well corroded blade to a museum in London but has not had any feedback yet.

Mr Evans said: ‘I haven’t heard anything back from the museum yet but the sword is of Asian origin, south east Asia, Malaysia.’

Experts belive that the sword is 'kris' of Asian origin, south east Asia, Malaysia. While most strongly associated with the culture of Indonesia the kris is also indigenous to Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei, Singapore and the Philippines

Experts belive that the sword is 'kris' of Asian origin, south east Asia, Malaysia. While most strongly associated with the culture of Indonesia the kris is also indigenous to Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei, Singapore and the Philippines

Experts belive that the sword is ‘kris’ of Asian origin, south east Asia, Malaysia. While most strongly associated with the culture of Indonesia the kris is also indigenous to Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei, Singapore and the Philippines

‘At first I thought it might have been Roman but it has a far more exotic story than that I suspect.

‘It is a Kris and would have had quite an ornate blade on it.

‘The handle is wood with what seems to be an ornate bird made of bone and there is also some copper like material on it as well.

Mr Andrew Davies, a coracleman from Carmarthen, dredged up the sword while casting his net in the River Towy

Mr Andrew Davies, a coracleman from Carmarthen, dredged up the sword while casting his net in the River Towy

Mr Andrew Davies, a coracleman from Carmarthen, dredged up the sword while casting his net in the River Towy

Andrew Davies is pictured with the sword he discovered

Andrew Davies is pictured with the sword he discovered

The handle of the sword appears to be an ornate bird

The handle of the sword appears to be an ornate bird

The handle is wood with what seems to be an ornate bird made of bone and there is also some copper like material on it as well

‘I suspect it has been under mud before it was netted and that’s how it has not corroded further, now however, without being in water it will start to deteriorate further.

‘How it ended up in the Towy has many possibilities.

‘Carmarthen was well known as a port and it may have been dropped or fallen overboard.

Pictured is the River Towy, where Mr Davies discovered the sword, which appears to be of Asian origin

Pictured is the River Towy, where Mr Davies discovered the sword, which appears to be of Asian origin

Pictured is the River Towy, where Mr Davies discovered the sword, which appears to be of Asian origin

‘Or there is always the possibility of a more sinister explanation.

‘Could it be a murder weapon that was tossed into the river many many years ago? Who knows, but its very interesting.

‘To think that a blade from Asia has found its way all the way to this corner of Wales is impressive to think.’

The sword has been returned to Mr Davies and the netsmen association. 

Mr Davies discovered the sword in the River Towy which runs through the Welsh town of Camarthen 

Mr Davies discovered the sword in the River Towy which runs through the Welsh town of Camarthen 

Mr Davies discovered the sword in the River Towy which runs through the Welsh town of Camarthen 

 



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