Hi all, apologies for the lack of input lately, as I have been traveling. I thought I'd post a picture of my new baby. I took a risk buying this sword. My other sword had been inspected by various people in the know and deemed good, however this one I purchased from detailed photos only. It won't be in my hands for another week. I will put this through the X-RayF machine which should give me it's make-up. My question is, where would I find X-RayF data from 11th century swords to compare my data to? I will post more photos when it arrives.
I'd say this is from the second half of 10th century to mid 11th. How long is that Cross? and any other measurements you might have... Your sword has the same pommel as many others I'm familiar with. These swords have a tiny "tea-cosy" style pommel that was in transition to the "brazil nut" pommel making this a very interesting piece. There are two types like yours an older one with fewer examples and then those(like yours) the more common variant. Petersen knew of 40 specimens like yours distributed across all of Norway(a couple in Finland and Sweden I believe as well). On a couple of blades there are inlaid marks but not letters and none were pattern-welded.
I'm not an expert so I can't wait to see what results and findings you learn in the future but I'm pretty sure In my humble opinion you are the new proud owner of a very fantastic rare sword to be treasured...take good care of her.
Thanks for the info, Josh. Sword arrived today. I kind of feel like its a bit too good for me to own. It should be on display or in a museum. Anyway the blade is amazing. It appears to have been conserved in the past with perhaps a coating of wax or something applied. The grip appears to be very old wood, quite dense with black carbonation inside. It has clear marks from where leather binding has held it together. It also appears to be coated in something like wax. I'm interested to know if any you knowledgable peeps can give me an idea if it looks like a water find or earth find going by the corrosion pattern. One side seems worse than the other. I'm happy to take more photos if anyone wants any details. I'm still waiting to here back from the XRF lab to organise a time to take it in to give me the good or bad news.
Great stuff. I'll put this one in the museum too. I always reserve final judgement to the laboratory, but if the pictures are anything to go by I don't see why this sword couldn't be the real deal. The carbon / charcoal inside the grip is a fairly common occurrence in Medieval swords, particularly those with long thin tangs like bastard swords, because the tang would be heated and then a tightly fitted grip forced over it to make a perfect fit - Ewart Oakeshott seems to think this was quite common, and I've seen it on many swords too. It is still done today in Nepal by Gurkha Knife makers, so it was probably relatively common right across Eurasia, maybe even the whole World Island (Africa, Europe and Asia).
Corrosion more pronounced on one side than the other is fairly common too - generally whichever side is up (towards the sky) will have more corrosion in my experience. It looks like, if I am not mistaken, that one side has 'bubbles' on it, the other doesn't? This can be indicative of a river find, as rocks can leave this sort of pattern on the 'up' side. In the right river, particularly in the mud, the oxygen content of the surrounds can be very low, so this would explain the remarkable preservation. For proof of this phenomena see the 'bog finds' from antiquity and prehistory, especially from Northern Europe - which have yielded in some cases human cadavers so well preserved that even their hair is intact.
If it were my sword I'd be pretty confident that it was a genuine artefact. I know it's easy for people to proclaim a sword that seems a little too good to be a fake on the net, but the fact is, since human beings have developed the internal combustion engine we've become incredibly good at digging up earth, and more and more swords this good will turn up - and there are many which are already in collections around the world which are also in excavated condition which are also as good, so this sword is by no means unusual - though I would consider yourself the recipient of a particularly remarkable specimen worth treasuring, I agree completely that it is museum quality.
Europe probably had amongst the highest population density on the planet in many of the periods in which swords were a primary tool of warfare, so it stands to reason that there are millions of salvageable swords like this one out there yet to see the air again. Modern people continue to expand their cities and earth works and even just explore the country side so many, many more will come to light even in our lifetimes I think. As far as I can tell there is nothing conspicuously anachronistic about this sword, so in my view, it is in all likelihood a bonified medieval sword.
The wax your sword has been preserved with is either Renaissance Wax which is refined from crude oil en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renaissance_Wax or paraffin wax which has been dissolved in mineral turpentine until it achieves a paste like consistency, then applied and the turpentine allowed to evaporate leaving an even waxy finish (which is sometimes then rubbed back with a rag to thin the coating out as it can be slightly opaque). Either work great - Renaissance Wax is more likely as it takes less time and work.
I can understand the "It belongs in a museum!" but sometimes even museums end up with more than they can handle many times they can end up storing items like this without displaying them often or at all...although I'd say this is easily Museum standard for sure very well preserved in my opinion.
While I do concur eventually donate or loan it out when a chance presents itself but don't be ashamed to hang on to it for awhile as personal collections are a great way to conserve items for prosperity. So far you've given a great deal of information to us I'd say potentially more than if it was featured in a book about swords and definitely in most museums. The information on here that you provided is worth quite a bit to me and the people on forums like this.
I think whatever you do eventually don't worry for the moment and enjoy it...its been around for many years and a few years in your collection(granted you care for it)won't hurt it. I used to collect megalodon shark teeth some could have been in a museum perhaps but just because a museum would take them off my hands it didn't mean they'd for sure make them available to the public at all times. I was told that just because I donated them they wouldn't necessarily end up being displayed at all and might do nothing more than sit around as labeled items in boxes unless some grad student or someone like that got permission to examine them. I've talked with several museums I've known and often they have issues keeping up with so many items and many objects can be neglected at times even in their hands. If you do donate it make sure it will have a wonderful home where people will actually get to enjoy it.