Medieval Bollock Dagger – Also Known As Kidney Dagger Discovered In Belgium

Kane Khanh | Archeaology
August 1, 2023

  Ancient people were certainly creative and able to produce weapons in different shapes. This Medieval kidney dagger has been unearthed in Belgium. While excavating near St Martin’s Cathedral in the city of Ypres, archaeologists came across many ancient artifacts, such as this dagger. It was found in the same area where part of the city’s former harbor was recently uncovered.

The Medieval bollock dagger found in the city of Ypres, Belgium. Credit: Radio 2

The dagger is also called a bollock dagger due to its form with a distinctively shaped hilt, with two oval swellings at the guard resembling male testes (“bollocks”).

It was common for men to wear a small, narrow dagger around the waist during the Middle Ages. It served as a second sword. The dagger was popular in Scandinavia, Flanders, Wales, Scotland, and England between the 13th and 18th centuries, in particular the Tudor period.

A set of bollock daggers found on board the 16th-century carrack Mary Rose, salvaged in 1982. Credit: Media Viewer – CC BY-SA 3.0

“Men also wore it very suggestively between the legs. Not because it was convenient, but as a parody or joke,” Hannelore Franck of the Ypres Museum explained.

The dagger has a long narrow point used to stab the kidney of the enemy. In addition to the kidney dagger, archaeologists have also found Medieval coins, cutlery, and jugs.

“We’ll examine these artifacts later. The many finds are well-preserved, thanks to the greasy clay soil. This is great for our story and future projects,” Sandrin Coorevits, coordinator of the Ypres Museum, said.

Excavations in front of St Martin’s Cathedral. Credit: Vrt news

Archaeological excavations in the city of Ypres have been very successful. Scientists recently discovered the foundations of Medieval wooden loading cranes depicted on Medieval maps, but their location has previously been unknown. The researcher will attempt to determine the age by examining the annual rings in the wood.

The unearthed structure is visible on Medieval maps. Credit: Vrt News

“It was expected that finds from the old Ypreslee would turn up during Aquafin’s activities. But it is still a surprise that an intact quay wall of perhaps 50 meters long would come to the surface. Therefore, the archaeologists hope that there will be room to preserve and display the old wall in the construction of the new square.

Under a glass plate, for example. The city will see what is possible because such an intervention is not foreseen in the future plans for the square. In any case, extensive images are taken to be able to reconstruct everything in 3D on the computer. The future will tell whether the quay wall or its part will actually remain visible,” Vrt News reports.

“We already exposed 25 meters of the quay wall and filmed everything with a drone on Tuesday,” says archaeologist Robrecht Vanoverbeke. The images will form the basis for a 3D simulation of what the medieval harbor once looked like.