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Ballateare Viking Burial Sword

Date made: 850-900 AD

Maker: unknown

Description: This steel sword was made for combat and for show. The sword was probably made in Norway. The blade is double-edged and the handle, or hilt, is made from iron with an inlaid silver and copper design. It was buried in the scabbard in which it was carried. Even this “carrying-case” had ornate fittings made from bronze.

Viking swords were designed as single-hand weapons, and they were often used along with an axe. When a Viking died, his weapons including his sword, were buried with him, though often broken into pieces to discourage grave-robbers. This sword had been broken into four pieces.

The pommel is inlaid with silver and copper hammered wire, with a channel between it and the seperate-made but similarly-decorated upper guard. The lower guard is decorated using the same technique on all faces.

The blade is not visible as the sword was broken and buried in its scabbard. X-rays show a fuller and two edges, but no pattern-welding is visible.

The scabbard has an outer layer of leather, which covers a layer of textile, then a thin wood layer, then another thin textile over the blade. There are traces of a strap that would have attached to a sling, along with copper alloy mounts. The lower mount has a D-shaped looped and some animal-head decoration.

Type is V as categorised by Peterson (1919).

Measurements: 960mm x 110mm x 340mm

Materials: copper alloy, silver, iron

Date found: 1946-11

Object name: sword

Collection: Archaeology Collection

ID number: 1966-0373/01


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