Unique Ornate Viking Sword From the 800s Decorated in Gold and Silver Unearthed in Norway

© Flickr / Tor-Sven BergeViking Sword
Viking Sword - Sputnik International, 1920, 03.06.2022
Across Norway, only a handful of swords of this type have been found, and the recent find, most likely imported, ranks among the finest, undoubtedly belonging to a man of authority and prosperity.
A gilded Viking sword decorated with a typical animal style from the Late Iron Age has been found by two metal detectorists and history buffs in a field outside the Norwegian city of Stavanger in the southern part of the country.
Experts believe the unique find stems from the early 800s, the very start of the Viking Age.

The intricate sword grip is rich with details in gold and silver, whereas the blade itself has probably disintegrated.
Archaeologist Zanette Glørstad of the University of Stavanger described it as a “dream find”. Across Norway, only 15-20 swords of this type have been found, and the recent find ranks among the finest.

“We find many swords, but this is exceptional. The advanced décor indicates that it was imported from what was then the Frankish Empire or from the British Isles”, Glørstad told national broadcaster NRK.

Erik Alve, who found the sword, described a feeling of euphoria, likening it to “catching a giant fish”.
“I have been doing this for four or five years, and found a lot of fun. A gold ring from the Middle Ages, among other things, but this is probably the coolest thing I have done, and I will hardly top it”, his mate and fellow detectorist Jone Holgersen said.
According to Glørstad, the sword is unlikely to have been used in combat.
“It has probably rather been a status symbol, man's jewellery, and it must have belonged to a very resourceful owner”, she mused.
The site outside Jåttå is known for several important finds from the Viking Age, including the so-called Gausel Queen's grave – one of the richest women's graves found in Norway. Over the years, numerous objects from the British Isles have been found.

“It shows that the area was a central hub in the North Sea. The sword indicates that we are dealing with a ruler figure with a large network of contacts, akin to the Gausel Queen”, she said.
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Not far away from this area, ruler Harald Fairhair defeated his opponents in Hafrsfjord in the late 9th century, becoming Norway's first king, uniting the country and reigning for several decades.
During the Viking Age (793-1066), Scandinavian seafarers known as Vikings undertook wide-ranging raids, conquests, and trading missions throughout Europe and beyond, reaching the Middle East, Northern Africa, and even North America. Among other things, they settled in Iceland, Ireland, the British Isles, parts of the Mediterranean region, Kievan Rus', and even Constantinople.
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