A builder who broke this valuable 15th-century sword in two after hitting it with his excavator and then snapping it as he tried to straighten it has been arrested after welding it back together so he could illegally sell it online.
Local media state the sword was found during excavation works at a gravel pit near the town of Jaslo in Subcarpatian Voivodeship in south-eastern Poland.
The 48-year-old excavator operator who found the relic is said to have taken it home, which is illegal in Poland where any artefacts, including those found on private property, have to be reported to the authorities in accordance with a law regarding goods of special importance for cultural and national heritage.
Local media report the man noticed that the sword’s blade was bent and tried to straighten it but ending up snapping it in two.
The 48-year-old is then said to have welded the two pieces back together and in the photos, the welding can clearly be seen halfway up the blade.
The excavator then allegedly tried to sell the sword online where police investigators spotted it and tracked him down.
The authorities then arrested the man and the sword was sent for expert analysis. Experts reportedly determined the artefact was from the fifteenth century and said that if the man had reported his find rather than taking it home and breaking it he could have been given a reward by the state.
The excavator is instead expected to be charged with destroying the artefact.