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Sword Parts - In the Outlander series, Jamie Fraser typically carries a broadsword with a basket hilt, which is a formidable blade weapon that does not seem to have been terribly popular in colonial Maryland. The sword parts that have been found archaeologically in Maryland tend to be from infantry hangers, which are cheap imitations of a gentleman’s smallsword. Smallswords had lighter, thinner blades than broadswords, and did double duty as both a weapon and a fashion accessory. Smallswords of the 18th century are often highly decorative, but they were well-suited to thrust and parry maneuvers, and could still wound and kill if pressed for duty in combat or a personal duel. Image of an 18th-century gentleman with a sword hanging from his belt:Depictions of fashionable 18th-century gentlemen, such as this ca. 1763-1775 print, show how the short sword was worn hanging from a belt that was concealed by the waistcoat and coat.  Image: Counterguard Fragments:Brass Counterguard Fragments, Date: ca. 1690-1730, Site Name: Addison Plantation, Site Number: 18PR175/9608, 7927 - The Addison plantation site represents the home of one of Maryland’s colonels of militia, John Addison, whose son Thomas took over the office when he died. Archaeologists excavated a structure at the site that burned down ca. 1730 and discovered that there was a stockpile of sword and gun parts in the cellar. These items would have been convenient to have on hand in the event that the Addisons had to help kit out the militia. Several identical hilt fragments from infantry hangers — cheap imitations of a gentleman’s smallsword — were found there, some of which got so hot in the fire that they melted. These counterguard fragments survived the fire, and they illustrate how highly decorative infantry hangers of the early 18th century could be.  The hilts were cast in molds, making elaborate decoration possible without increased expense. Each counterguard depicts a globe topped with a basket of fruit and flanked by cherubs and cornucopiae. Matching knuckle guards, a quillion block, and a scabbard hook were also found in the cellar. Image of a sword knuckle guard:Brass Knuckle Guard, Date: ca. 1690-1730, Site Name: Addison Plantation, Site Number: 18PR175/9608 - Knuckle guards from infantry hangers and smallswords represent a sharp contrast to the basket hilt seen on Jamie Fraser’s broadsword in the Outlander series. It offers only a single curved bar as protection instead of almost completely encasing the hand. This knuckle guard has a decorative nude figure on it to match the counterguard (left) and quillon block (not shown), but the design has been obscured by corrosion and fire damage. Image of a sword quillon block:Brass Quillon Block, Date: ca. 1700-1790, Site Name: Saunders Point, Site Number: 18AN39/29 - This quillon block from an infantry hanger comes from a site that was home to generations of the Saunders family. Several Saunders men, such as Robert Saunders Jr. and his brother William, were ship captains who conducted trade between Maryland and the Caribbean. They would have worn swords for both personal defense and fashion. Like the Addison plantation sword parts, this quillon block is decorated with nude figures. Each side has a different scene, probably related to the Old Testament story of Adam and Eve. One nude figure is holding an apple (top) and the other has a snake draped around its shoulders (bottom). Illustration of a smallsword hilt showing: pommel; grip; quillon; quillon block; knuckle guard; counterguard (attaches to base of quillon block): Hilt engraving adapted from Diderot and Alembert’s (1751-1765) Encyclopédie, ou Dictionnaire Raisonné des Sciences : Des Arts et des  Métiers.