When 11-year-old Yang Junxi was busy one fine morning washing his hands in his local river, he found the sort of thing that you’d only expect to really stumble across in the realms of myth or the land of make believe.
Let’s be honest, washing our hands in rivers is not something most of us tend to do anymore. That’s why god invented taps. The downside of that of course is there’s nothing interesting to be found in taps, unless you find the occasional strain of bacteria exciting.
And even if you do tend to wash your hands in rivers like some sort of fantastical man of the mountains or enthusiastic Billy of the hills, then the chances are, you’ll find nothing more exciting than the odd beer can, car tyre, or if you’re really lucky, poisoned fish.
Yet young Yang Junxi had an altogether different experience.
When the Chinese youngster was washing his hands in the Laozhoulin River, in Gaoyou County, Jiangsu Province, he stumbled across something that would have made King Arthur himself exclaim: “It may not be Excalibur young squire, but nevertheless it’s a pretty cracking find Sir Knight.”
Can you guess what young Yang found yet? You got it! When the 11-year-old was busy washing his hands in the river, he felt the tip of a sword’s edge.
Yet before all you negative and world-weary types snarl, “A sword! Is that all?” The sword that Yang found was not just any old blade. No sir. This sword has history and lots of it. You might say it was a cut above your common blade.
Yang excitedly took the sword home to show his mum and dad. So impressed were they with his find they called the neighbors around, and everyone began to pass the sword around with awe. Some even offered large sums of money to buy the mysterious blade.
However, Yang and his parents were having none of it, and they sent off the sword to be examined by experts.
The experts did their thing and have since dated the sword to either the Shang or Zhou dynasties. Which in case you didn’t know folks, is very old. In fact the 10-inch weapon was probably created during the dawn of Chinese civilization.
BBC News reported that Lyu Zhiwei of the Gaoyou Cultural Relics Bureau believes the 3,000-year-old bronze blade was most likely used as a civil official’s status symbol than a weapon.
“There was no characteristic or decorative pattern on the exquisite bronze sword. Made in a time of relatively low productivity, its owner would have been an able man with the qualification to have such artifact.”
The river where the sword was found, was once part of a system of ancient waterways that developed into today’s Grand Canal. Authorities are now planning a major archaeological dig in the river to see what else they can turn up.
And it certainly seems that the sword ended up in a pair of hands worthy enough to wield it, because even though Junxi and his father Jinhai were offered high sums to sell the bronze blade, they felt it wouldn’t be right and have since handed it to the authorities.