Provenance: Christie’s, 20th November 1991, lot 34
Presented in excavated condition, the sword comes with broad blade tapering to a long point, both sides cut with a broad shallow fuller running from the base of the hilt to within 16cm. of the tip. One side is boldly cut with an abbreviated inscription of four large Lombardic letters "R - - V" and a large cross potent at both ends. The reverse has possible traces of further letters. The strongly formed hilt comes with a rectangular crosspiece of slightly arched type tapering towards the ends, and large pommel of Brazil-nut type.
Author Ewart Oakeshott classifies the sword as a type X, the pommel-type as type A, in his The Sword in the Age of Chivalry book (New York, 1965). For a detailed survey of excavated early Medieval swords, including many with inscribed blades, see GEIBIG, Alfred, “Beiträge zur morphologischen Entwicklung des Schwertes im Mittelalter”, Neumünster 1991.
The epigraphic style found on the present blade is linked to the wider series of blades with inscriptions inlaid in a contrasting soft iron, of which the most well-known are the “Ulfberht” type. The abbreviated inscription on the present blade appears to be as yet unstudied. Also see the sixteenth Park Lane Arms Fair guide, 1999, GORMAN, Michael R., “ULFBERHT: Innovation and Imitation in Early Medieval Swords”, pp.7-12.