How a Viking ended up with an English sword

Artifact-Norway-Viking-SwordWhat is it?
Sword

Culture
Viking

Date
First half of the 11th century A.D.

Material
Iron, silver, gold, silver thread, copper alloy thread

Found
Langeid, Setesdal Valley, southern Norway

Dimensions
3.08 feet long

At first the grave’s contents seemed poorer than might be expected, given that it was the largest excavated burial in the Langeid cemetery. When archaeologists dug into the coffin, they found just two fragments of silver coins, one from northern Europe, and a penny minted under the Anglo-Saxon king Æthelred II (Æthelred the Unready) in England. Yet the four postholes at the grave’s corners made it clear that it had once been roofed, a sign of the deceased’s high status. Outside the coffin, however, they soon saw something that, says excavation leader Camilla Cecilie Wenn, “made our eyes really pop” when the dirt began to fall away. On one side of the coffin was a large battle-ax, and on the other, the hilt of a three-foot-long sword that once belonged to a Viking, one whose identity might even be known.

The Viking king Canute invaded England at the beginning of the eleventh century and became king of England in A.D. 1016 when Æthelred’s sons fled. According to twelfth-century Danish chronicler Sven Aggesen, the elite force of 3,000 warriors serving under the king carried axes and swords with gilded heads and hilts, similar to the ax and sword found at Langeid. This type of weaponry is known to have been made in the British Isles, and an inscribed runestone found not far from Langeid indicates that men from this region fought with Canute, probably in the English campaigns of A.D. 1013–1014. “We believe it’s probable that the owner of the sword and the ax was a warrior in King Canute’s army who may have acquired the sword in England,” says Wenn. “The link to the British Isles is also well supported by the grave’s Anglo-Saxon coin, which is the only one unearthed in the cemetery.”*

 

Source: ArchaeologyMagazine.com

‘Wand’ discovered in cave is found to be 6,000 years old!

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The lead object was the first of its kind found in the Eastern Mediterranean region.

A nondescript cave in Israel was the location of a major discovery recently: a lead and wood artifact believed to be the earliest example of smelted lead in the Eastern Mediterranean region.

The object, which looks like a wand or small dagger, was found attached to an intact wooden shaft during a field survey at Ashalim Cave led by Naama Yahalom-Mack, a postdoctoral student from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Findings were published in the scientific journal Plos One.

wands<A close-up of the Ashalim Cave lead object. (Photo: Yahalom-Mack et al)

Lead is a soft, malleable metal with a bluish-white color and is rarely found on its own, meaning it has to be extracted from the ore that contains it through a process called smelting – or by heating and melting it.

The researchers dated the wand to the late 5th millennium BCE – or the Late Copper Age. Smelted lead had never before been dated to this time period, according to Yahalom-Mack.

Consisting of a 22.4 cm long wooden shaft and a perforated lead object still attached to it, the wand is the only pre-4th millennium lead artifact ever uncovered in the region, and sheds new light on the early metallurgy of lead, its sources and its technological role at the formative stages of metal production, Yahalom-Mack said.

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Archaeologists hover over the entrance to the cave where the lead wand was found. (Photo: Yahalom-Mack et al)
Lead doesn’t tend to occur naturally in the area in which the wand was found, so after discovering the artifact, the researchers studied its isotopes (variations on an element) to determine its origin. An analysis showed that the artifact “was … likely smelted from lead ores originating” in Anatolia, Turkey.

Yahalom-Mack said the discovery is important “to the question of the development of silver extraction from lead ores: was regular lead smelting from lead-rich ores performed during the 5th millennium BCE, a process that might have resulted in the discovery of silver few hundreds of years later?”

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Microscopic images of the sampled area where the lead wand was found. (Photo: Yahalom-Mack et al.)

 

Source:  Article by Zach Ponte  – Contributor to  Fromthegrapevine.com