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Scott A. Roush

Norwegian 8th/9th century blacksmith find....

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Has anybody seen this article:

 

http://www.thehistoryblog.com/archives/32636

 

An apparent Viking period blacksmith grave with hammer, tongs, stump anvil?? and bent sword with hilt and no edge:

 

Viking-blacksmiths-tongs-sword.jpg

 

Just wondering what people think about the fact that the sword is unfinished. Could this be a hoax? Or a fake 'sacrificial sword'? No bones associated with the find either.

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Its a single edge sword isn't it?

 

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Mark... I was just informed that it's a single edge sword. :-)

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Is the bending of the sword in this era similar to Bronze age bending of a slain enemy's sword to prevent him from using it in the afterlife? Were the tools in the grave hoard to allow him to straighten it out in the afterlife? Curious. My understanding of the viking treasure hoard is limited to what I've seen on Vikings i.e. Gabriel Burn. Just wondering how they thought about this.

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That was posted here a while back, but it is still exceedingly cool. As for "killing" the sword, it may have been so the owner could use its spirit in the afterlife or more likely it was a sacrifice to the gods.

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Just a thought, and definitely not intended to start any major discourse and/or hijack this thread...

 

I know 'killing' the sword is referenced often as a ritualistic / spiritual thing, but I sometime wonder if there isn't an easier explanation (seems everything in archeology is somehow related to 'religion')... could it be that they just wanted to discourage grave robbers?

 

'Sword is no good for a sword, no use stealing it'... seems pretty practical to me. 'I don't want my loved-ones possessions looted.'

 

Like I said, just a thought I have had bouncing around for a while... seemed like a good place to get others opinions

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Surely at least a good side benefit, Dan. :)

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I'm liking Dan Kaschners thinking.
Usually I don't get involved in sword killing philosophy, but since this instance is "closer to home" so to speak, I'll add that I personally don't think killing the sword pleases the gods in any way. Not these gods.
And there is no right answer here, if it means something to you to put in alot of effort and then sacrificing it, then that is why you do it.

However, after defeating a foe it was also common to kill his sword, possibly so it wouldn't come back and stab you for what you did.
Whatever the reason, because these were people that really lived by the sword and axe in a hope to be worthy of entering Valhall, I would guess this was the most common way to handle a dead persons sword.
So what do you do in the rare occurence when some smith dies from something peaceful like a faulty heart? You do as you always do perhaps?
Or perhaps the sword was a commission WIP and the customer saw it as a really bad omen to finish and own this evil thing that the smith died making?

PS. Oh so it's single edge? Hm. Well, maybe it was his own then.
PPS. Even someone fighting along side of this dead smith, or a friend or neighbour might be afraid he held a slight grudge against you, maybe for winning some money in Hnefatafl or something. If so you couldn't really know, and it would be on the safe side to have his sword killed because it might have it in for you and could turn on you when you needed it?

Edited by Steffen Dahlberg

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Just a little something that has always kind of been in the back of my mind. I tend to like the least complicated solutions and to me religion seems way more complicated than just discouraging grave-robbers. Of course, doesn't fully explain the 'killed' swords found at the bottom of bogs and river bottoms.

 

Anyway, didn't mean to distract from the jist of this thread. Scott thanks for posting the link. Very interesting. I love reading about finds of old blacksmith tooling and of course the addition of a sword doesn't hurt at all. :-)

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(seems everything in archeology is somehow related to 'religion')...

 

Guilty as charged! :lol: We do that because it's an easy answer for things we can't otherwise explain. Same reason religion exists, come to think of it... :huh: plus professors don't like to hear "it's impossible to interpret the true meaning of (insert object here) because it's only one material aspect of a culture we can't go back and ask."

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