Back in 1975, an excavation team by archaeologist Vyacheslav Molodin unearthed by accident a medieval sword under a tree in the Novosibirsk region. The sword, it turns out, could've belonged to Ivan the Terrible, the infamous Russian Tsar who ruled until 1584.
When the sword was discovered, there was a widespread debate as to how weapon of its kind could've ended up in Russia, with assumptions mostly favoring the idea that it was taken as a spoil of war or passed along the trade route. Molodin's own theory was that the sword was taken from the armory owned by Ivan the Terrible and then brought to Siberia by the famed warrior Ivan Koltso before the region was colonized.
During Ivan the Terrible's rule towards the end of the 16th century, Russia began a massive exploration and colonization effort in Siberia where Cossack leader Yermak Timofeyevich was tasked with taking on the Tatar troops led by Murza Karachi and Khan Kuchum. The sword was possibly a gift hailing from the Kremlin.
The exact spot where the sword was the found is located less than two miles away from where Ivan Koltso, Timofeyevich's closest ally, was thought to have died in a battle just 18 months after he took Kashlyk, the Siberian Khanate capital, with the Cossack leader.
While heavily outnumbered, Koltso fought hard, hacking away at enemies with the sword from the Russian Tsar to get to his horse. While fleeing on his steed, he is pursued and shot with arrows. And then as Koltso passes the tree, he drops the sword and there it slept for centuries until the excavation team found it.
Molodin admits that his theory is fueled by legends surrounding the warrior Koltso but notes that version of the story should not be excluded. None of the scientists used this legend of Koltso to explain the origins of the sword but Academician Alexei Okladnikov did.
"Despite his Cossacks having sabres and firearms, they were still using swords. So it was quite possible they were using them during that trip," Molodin adds.
While its ownership has not been finalized, it has been determined that the medieval sword was from Europe and made between late twelfth or early thirteenth century after Molodin carried out extensive study on ancient weapons. Fortunately, at the time it was found, it was well-preserved. The medieval sword now calls Novosibirsk's Institute of Archaeology and Ethnography home.