Item Details

The “Mercenary”: An Exceptional Find from the 1600s


Journal: Journal of Glacial Archaeology

Subject Areas: Archaeology

DOI: 10.1558/jga.33148


Between 1984 and the early 1990s the remains of a man were recovered from the edge of the Upper Theodul Glacier. The man died around AD 1600 while crossing the Theodul Pass (3301 m.a.s.l.) near Zermatt, one of the most important trade routes in the Pennine Alps at the time. He was called the “mercenary from the Theodul Pass” because of the weapons found alongside him. In 2006 his remains and the associated artifacts were incorporated into the collection of the Valais History Museum and specialists from various disciplines examined the collection for several years. The examination results give an unexpected glimpse into the life of a well-to-do traveller in early postmedieval period revealing rare preserved objects from this time.

Author: Sophie Providoli, Luca Gianazza, Hanna Grabner, Matthias Senn, José Diaz Tabernero, Marquita Volken, Serge Volken

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