South West Wales

18th Century sword found in River Towy in Carmarthen

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Media captionMr Davies has fished the river for 30 years and is chairman of the Carmarthen Coracle Association

Mystery surrounds the discovery of an 18th Century sword found on a riverbed in Carmarthenshire.

It was dredged up by coracleman Andrew Davies while casting his nets on the River Towy in Carmarthen.

These types of swords are strongly associated with Indonesia, but can also be found in Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and the Philippines.

Pictures have been sent to the British Museum to find out how it reached the river and how long it has been there.

Mr Davies said he was fishing for sea trout in the river behind the town's B&Q store at night.

"As I pulled the net in, the sword was hanging in the back," he said.

"It is about 3ft (0.9m) long and has an eagle's head where the handle is."

He took the sword to Carmarthenshire County Museum in nearby Abergwili.

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Media captionMuseum curator Gavin Evans said there were "a number of scenarios" for the sword's presence

Curator Gavin Evans said the sword gave an initial impression of being Roman, but on closer inspection he realised it was "something much more exotic".

He said: "Carmarthen, up until the industrial revolution, was in some senses the most important town in Wales, so there would have been a lot of comings and goings of goods and of people to the town."

Mr Evans said there were "a number of scenarios" for why the sword ended up in the River Towy, with the most likely that it was brought back by a sailor who had been travelling around the world and it had fallen overboard.

Mr Davies said he thinks he will get to keep the sword, although "it is not the sort of thing you can hang on the wall in the house".

"As far a value is concerned, it's the historical value more than anything," he added.

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