The falcata is the most characteristic weapon of Iberian culture. This piece found in Vilajoiosa has a 44 cm blade and is made up of three sheets of forged metal, joined together to “la calda”, that means in hot, hammering the three blades on an anvil in the red of the forge.
The characteristics that differentiate it from other contemporary swords used by other cultures are the width of its blade, the double edge (main and dorsal), the "S" profile of its blade and the handle in the shape of a horse or a bird. The central blade, thicker than the lateral ones, extends to the hilt, in this way, the falcata is a weapon made as a single piece of iron, thus making it much stronger. The main "S" edge makes the cutting blow stronger and the dorsal edge allows the falcata to be used as a stabbing weapon as well as a cutting one.
The grooves that appear on the blade are meant to lighten its weight without reducing resistance, with them the qualities of resistance, lightness and flexibility are improved, in addition to improving its aesthetics. Therefore, we must discard the unbelievable theory that the function of these grooves was to facilitate the entry of air to aggravate the wounds of their enemy. If this were their function, the grooves should reach the tip of the falcata and this does not occur in any of the falcatas located so far. In addition, the blade should penetrate 10-15 cm into the body of the enemy, so that air could enter the wound, in this case, the entry of air would be the least important fact of it.
The hilt is shaped like a horse's head and curves over the hand that wields it. On the metal there would be some scales of wood or bone, which surely disappeared in the funeral pyre, and these scales joined with bronze nails to the metal, also with a decorative function since the nail located at the end, serves as the eye of the head of the animal. Regarding their size, it has been speculated that the Iberians had very small hands or were short, however, it has been proven that they can be handled perfectly. Another curious fact of this Iberian weapon, is that the measure of the opening of the handle is constant of about 11 cm in all the falcatas that appear, unlike the variability in the length of the blade that usually measure from 32 to 61 cm.
Along with the falcata there was found the structure of the scabbard, which was probably made of leather, although it has not been preserved. The edges would be reinforced with a thin iron sheet butt plate, in addition to four horizontal reinforcements of the same metal. The second and third reinforcement would have a slight broadening so that the feather knife could enter that hole and also some rings to be able to carry it hanging from the swordbelt. It was slung over the shoulder, across the chest almost horizontally rather than vertically.
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Iberian necropolis of Poble Nou, Quintana sector, Tomb 37
Length: 557 mm; width: 67mm
Chronology: 5th- 4th century BC
Nº Inv. Vilamuseu 011011 and 011030