Sattel, 19.06.2015

Archaeological finds could well be from the time of the Battle of Morgarten

On Thursday Zug cantonal government member Manuela Weichelt-Picard said that any objects remaining from Battle of Morgarten in 1315 had long since disappeared and that it was not possible to know the precisely where it all happened. Perhaps she was basing her information on an interview published in last Sunday's Neue Zuger Zeitung with local historian and expert Pirmin Moser, who said pretty much the same (and as quoted in yesterday's Panorama article). However, it now appears some artifacts which could date from this period have been found.
These include silver coins, daggers, sheathes and arrows, discovered among 80 kilogrammes of material (much of which actually emanated from 21st century school trips) collected in the area of Lake Aegeri by Romano Agola using a metal detector between January and the middle of May this year having been commissioned to do so by the cantons of Zug and Schwyz.
It was emphasised that the findings themselves did not prove the battle took place but they did provide a "valuable basis for further research".
It seems the "Einstein" science programme, which goes out on the SRF TV channel, had planned to broadcast a special programme to coincide with the 700th anniversary of the battle and the associated commemorations, hence their teams accompanied geo-scientific examination of the objects by the University of Zurich.
As far back as January Agola found a sword and 12 silver coins from the period between 1270 and 1300, at the time worth about half a sheep. They came from the Bishopric of Basel and the Fraumünster Abbey in Zurich, among other places. As Stefan Hochuli, the head of the Zug Cantonal Office for Archaeology and Preservation of Historic Monuments, confirmed, while these coins indubitably date from the thirteenth century, it does not mean that they found their way into the ground at the time of the battle.
Among the other objects found were parts of weapons, namely two daggers and the metallic sheath of a knife, as well as two arrow heads and a spur from the 14th century.
As Hochuli said, some of the finds, for example items of jewellery and a golden head of a pin from the 7th and 10th centuries, most definitely had no connection with the Battle of Morgarten at all.
Putting the situation into perspective, Valentin Kessler, the archivist and head of culture in the canton of Schwyz, said that the whole story of the heroic action of the Swiss in defeating the Habsburg troops in 1315 had become part of a legend propagated across Switzerland over the years right up until today, "It is not unlike a huge PR operation," he said.
The items are actually going on display from today, Friday 19 June, until Friday 31 July at the Burg Zug Museum and from Saturday 22 August until Wednesday30 September in the Bundesbriefmuseum in Schwyz.