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My collection of Viking artifacts

viking axe spear

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#1 Justin Mercier

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 11:51 PM

Some of you who attended the Swords through the centuries event last weekend got to see most of these.  I've since replaced all my containers with archival safe foam and materials thanks to Mr. Shea donating some scraps of ethafoam he had.

 

It's nothing like Jeff Pringle's collection, but it's my own =)   A fellow nearby me who is conserving a viking sword and scabbard pieces recently unearthed let me onto the fact that there's some fairly reasonable priced authentic viking pieces coming out of Estonia and Latvia on ebay right now, and so I've got another couple axe heads coming my way after bidding on them in the last few weeks as well =)

 

http://www.tharkis.c...iking/thumbs.py

 

Here's everything in it's new home (the dark foam next to it is a softer foam which goes on top to keep stuff from moving when the box is closed and not sitting down)

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Here's one axe head, not in that great shape, and like most of my artifacts, not yet stabilized.

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This is my spear head, which was stabilized with electrolysis , which unfortunately makes it hard to tell, but there's evidence that it has a pattern welded core, but it's very hard to tell if its' patern welding or if it's very long strands of impurities.  The parallel nature and the length of the lines makes me believe it's not just a grain ala wrought however.  the most prevelant modern conservation techniques tend to mask / eliminate evidence of pattern welding.

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Here's a pair of small blades.

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A small axe head in very bad shape

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Some bronze belt hardware.  Several tongue ends, one set with very nice knotwork engraving, two with very distinctive Viking triangles with 3 dots inside.  There are some leather remnants still attached to a few pieces, importantly the join plate in the top right corner clearly shows how, as suspected with many Viking belts, it was created from shorter pieces of leather joined with plates.  The leather between the plates is still intact with very clean cut ends between the two halves.  The iron tongue has rotted away on the belt buckle, but next to it are some fairly rare hangars , which would have been used to hang other equipment, fire starters, knife sheaths, etc, to the belt.  As small as all the pieces are, the level of detal on them is great, with fine lines around all the edges.  The buckle has nice stipple work on the face, the 2 hangars on the left have very nice octohedral botoms.

 

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Edited by Justin Mercier, 08 November 2013 - 12:05 AM.

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#2 Justin Mercier

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Posted 07 November 2013 - 11:59 PM

Next we have some equestrian pieces found.  A horse shoe, the top of a stirup, and the rear of a spur. 

 

 

Some more random tools, and iron bits, found along with the shoe, spur, the rotted axe head from above, and some of the other bits here.  The blade is half of a pair of shears.  The bottom right is the front of an adze.  The tool above it is a hand tool for punching.  The end is a nice triangle, but what design it had carved into it has been obliterated with age.  It very well could have been the commonly found triangle with 3 dots pattern for all we know =)  It's a very fomfortable tool to hold.    I'm not sure what the large nail with the clinched over end was for, and next to it I'm not sure what it is but it's got filed ridges down the back of the top bent / curved part.  whatever was on the end of it is gone though.

 

 

And finally, everything stored safely for transport =)

 

 


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#3 Karter Schuster

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 02:09 AM

Ooh man you scored! Those are some serious awesome pieces you got there B).

And just a question, are the triangle punches with the three dots made still, if they are I definitely want one.

 

 

Edit: this may be in fact an opportunity to get the metals tested for the qualities in heat treatment, alloying content, and other enigmas in the spear, although I will not pressure you to do it, but it might get us more insight on the metallurgy of the era. alot of Places/people hate the thought of ruining these pieces but as I have read in other older posts the information from it now can be equal or greater in value than the piece itself.


Edited by Karter Schuster, 08 November 2013 - 02:15 AM.


#4 Alan Longmire

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 09:38 AM

Nice stuff!

 

And yes, if you've got the cojones to do it, you can polish and etch a window on the spear and get a look at what's really there instead of just wondering about it. :ph34r:   Jeff has two pattern-welded ones you'd never have been able to guess were PW until he opened the windows.  Oh, and one wolf-tooth one where it was pretty obvious as well. B)

 

The phrase "The price of knowledge" was bandied about quite a bit in Oakland two weeks ago, and thanks to another individual's investment and willingness to find out I now know a lot more about a particular Viking axe than we'd have ever guessed just looking at it...



#5 DanM

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 04:10 PM

Is the round object in the equestrian photo actually a ring brooch and not something horse related?



#6 Justin Mercier

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Posted 08 November 2013 - 04:46 PM

Is the round object in the equestrian photo actually a ring brooch and not something horse related?

Oh i didnt mention that in my captioning.  It's likely a small iron fibula (aka ring brooch)


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#7 Rob Toneguzzo

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Posted 09 November 2013 - 01:16 AM

Some great stuff there thanks for sharing the pics
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#8 Justin Mercier

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Posted 14 November 2013 - 03:58 PM

Some more pics from my collection.  First some small every day utility knives, showing the progression of shape with repeated sharpening over many long years of use.  And a very small viking axe head, which I dont know what it was used for, toy for a child? actual use for something small / carpentry?    The forgeweld on the eye was not very good on this one and has separated, showing very distinctly the asymmetric wrap style used to make many vikign axe eyeholes.

 

 

 

Next is my largest viking axe that I own.  (Though i'd love to find myself a large dane axe someday)  It's a bit more corroded than I'd like, but it also helps determine the construction as well.  It's fairly clear how the backstrap was formed and forgewelded into the eye because of the extra thickness of material it's survived better than the sides of the eye.  In typical baltic bearded axe style, it's quite beefy just infront of the eye where the axe is thinest in the vertical direction.

 

 

I recently just spent too much money on this Seax from northern france, either frankish or viking, based on a feature I saw in the photo.   I circled it, but that squigly X to me looks like clear evidence of pattern welding, being right between the two carved fuller lines.  If that's not the side of a low layer twist, i'll eat my shorts =)  The sax and the knife were found together and i'm getting them both, will post more photos when I get them from overseas =P

 


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#9 Matthew Parkinson

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Posted 15 November 2013 - 10:01 AM

I think the lower one might be a multi bar construction as well... I think I see a weld line.



#10 Mark Green

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Posted 15 November 2013 - 11:53 AM

Very cool stuff!!

 

 Thanks for sharing.
 


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#11 Justin Mercier

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Posted 16 November 2013 - 05:34 PM

I totally forgot to put the pictures of my other seax in this thread =D 

 

This brokeback seax was from central germany It's got a good bit of wear from sharpening and while it's a hair over 7/8" wide or thereabouts for most of it's length now, using the spine as a straight, it's 1" to the lowest part, near the tip, and was likely about the same witdh the whole length down orignially.  The spine is quite beefy for the size of the blade around 3/16 and up to 7/32 at the widest part.  I dont see any evidence of pattern welding in this blade, I'd have to do some more destructive type testing (the above mentioned polishing a window and etching) to prove one way or another, but I dont think there is any in this seax.

 

 

That's my collection, until I get the seax and knife from the above post, and an axe head from estonia that I bought on ebay recently.  I'll add those photos when they arrive =)


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#12 Justin Mercier

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Posted 24 November 2013 - 12:31 AM

I bought this axe on ebay from Latvia.  The best explaination I've seen for the viking axes with holes through the middle are that they were trade axes and were strung together through the holes... whether that's true or not, I dont know.

 


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#13 Karter Schuster

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Posted 25 November 2013 - 03:41 AM

I gotta say that last sax blade looks almost good enough to be reworked and re-hilted(pitting may be a bit deep in some places but oh well), And I am not joking either.



#14 Justin Mercier

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Posted 29 November 2013 - 10:39 AM

It arrived today !  My bet that it was pattern welded seems to have been a good one.  I can find more evidence of a twisted bar pattern now that I have it in my hands than just the squigly X I noticed in the ebay photo =)

 

It's very seaxy, and feels great in the hands too.

 

left and right profiles of the two blades I recieved today, either frankish or viking with no real way to know for certain which of the two.

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High rez close ups of the better condition side of the seax.  The lighting from my flash is not the best to see the features unfortunately.  To see the pattern welded features you have to move it back and forth in the light and know what you're looking for.

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and the other side

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Edited by Justin Mercier, 29 November 2013 - 10:45 AM.

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#15 Justin Mercier

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Posted 30 November 2013 - 01:53 PM

composite high rez photo

 

http://www.tharkis.c...highrezseax.jpg


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#16 Justin Mercier

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Posted 07 January 2014 - 02:50 PM

So... I told myself after the pattern welded broad seax and by knife that I wasnt going to buy anything else unless it was a fantastic deal  / wicked cheap... and then this pattern welded wolfstooth viking spearhead showed up on Ebay in the UK... and I bought it... It should be in my hot little hands sometime in the next couple of weeks.

 

It appears to be wolfstooth pattern -> twist pattern -> straight laminate -> twist -> wolfstooth as you go across the blade.   It's corroded down to the point that it looks like a serrated blade for much of the spear, but towards the tip you can see it's a little better preserved.  The spear has not been 'conserved' so it's probably fairly fragile with flakey rust still.

 

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Here's a link to all the photos I have of it currently

http://www.tharkis.c...spear/thumbs.py


Edited by Justin Mercier, 07 January 2014 - 02:51 PM.

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#17 Matthew Parkinson

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Posted 08 January 2014 - 08:27 AM

Cool another excuse to come visit! blog post about my last visit... http://mpmetal.tumblr.com/



#18 Varsmith

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Posted 06 April 2014 - 02:31 PM

Nice topic!

May I post some my axes?

My viking axe, it has 390gr with 240mm blade:

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#19 Cecil Taylor

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Posted 23 December 2016 - 06:42 PM

Where do you guys find these items? I want to buy my first Viking artifacts, is there a good trusted dealer online?





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