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February 2010

Below, you will see some interesting photos and opinion from a fellow collector.

I was unsure whether to place all this in the "Is this genuine?" section or here, in this new section. But as we might hopefully now start acquiring  some useful information about Migration Period and Viking swords, I decided to start this new section; albeit on an obviously contentious piece.


From "S"

I've bought an iron sword that I believe genuine and belonging to the Migration Period and I'd like to share it with members of this this website and have  some opinion opinion on it. I have many pictures taken before the cleaning and after some light clean with paraffin.


It came with a thick "shell" of rust and crust (possiblly millenary soil + mud + rust???) and with recent rust on it and after having taken it away a silvery surface emerged, as painted, that can  be seen better with strong radiant light or photographing it with flash at a certain angle.


It is 77 cm long, the blade is 59 cm.  ( = 23.2 in)  long, 4,3 cm. wide (it is parallel till the tip) and its weight is Kg. 1,380.    ( = 3.04   lbs ) . The tang is offset and the tip is not symmetrical.






Some photos to show the offset nature of the hilt.


I must preface my remarks by saying  that this is not an area in which I have a lot of knowledge.


At first glance it looks to be in the form of  a Migration Period sword given the lack of taper on the blade . The overall size is just about correct also.


However there are several "problems" in this piece for me:  I'm not at all convinced that it is really an ancient sword.


1. The fairly extreme offset arrangement of the hilt and blade seems to me to be greater than an ancient sword maker would do.


Certainly there are many  examples of Viking swords at least, where there is an offset:

This example of an Ulfbehrt which was sold at Christies a few years ago seems to have a slightly offset blade.





And others..........



2.  What also makes it look rather odd is the unusually long hilt tang  which has no taper at all. ( Though it must be admitted that some such swords do have straight tangs). The rectangular pommel is also unusually small.


3, The length of the blade is not great, 59 cm = 23.2 ins, which is  on the  small size for this type of sword,  but the weight . 1,380kg. =   3.04   lbs   is very much on the heavy side for  either a Viking or Migration Period sword of this size. 


4. The surface corrosion looks  very  uniform and more particularly,   the blade edges look  very straight an uncorroded.  On ancient iron swords blades which have rusted one usually finds quite a lot of pitting in the edges where the metal is of course much thinner and vulnerable to loss by corrosion. That said, one does of course also find such swords without much damage or loss on the edges.


5.  The fact that you apparently can see fresh gleaming metal under the corrosion would suggest possibly that the corrosion is artificial and done with acid, other chemicals and heating rather than a genuine corrosion. (see below, that I misunderstood what "S" meant  when he noted this)


Well those are my comments for what they are worth , though as I say, this is not my speciality area by  along shot.



Where is it from? Where is it said it was found?


The owner provides more and interesting information>>