Mid-19th century. Finely forged iron blade, 17 5/8" length with flared bolster in addorsed sets of three steps with beveled edge and elongated leaf shaped blade continuing the beveled edges and incised with panels of arcing parallel grooves terminating at the centerline, each side. Blade retains its original finish and crisp detail with minor spotty staining. Symmetrical wood hilt, flared top and bottom, shows dark glossy patina from handling and use, over tool carved surface. Evidently intended for eventual wrap in trade wire and tape, as was the custom. This example never progressed to that state of adornment, almost certainly because the owner was killed performing his trade. Slave raids were horrific melees with every victim fighting for his life. While the slavers had the advantages of surprise, physical superiority in most cases, and experience, many were killed in action. The popular portrayal of merely rounding up unwilling victims is a creation of the film industry.