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Hello all! While I’ve been smithing awhile, I am very new to the forums. I’ve been registered for awhile now but it’s about time I use the forums and learn more. 
 

I am posting this to ask if anyone has any websites or books or information on Vendel finds regarding seax blades? I’ve seen several smiths make Vendel seax blades based on grave finds etc., but can’t seem to find anything at all when I start searching away. Am I missing something? As far as viking age stuff goes I have a few sources and friends I can refer to, but the Vendel era is a new interest of mine and it’s catching my interest more and more every day! Any help would be wonderful! Thank you! 

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I can't help you directly, but I would suggest that you try the History sub-forum.  Lots of good stuff already there, and probably the better place to ask this.  A mod may move this thread there there, and you can ask them to and they definitely will, because they are nice folks.  

 

And definitely this thread.  And you can always PM Jeroen if you still have questions.  

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Oh thank you! I appreciate the help! This is all pretty new to me ! 

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Thank you, Alan! 

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Hmmm, I don't know of too much info specific to 'Vendel' as it seems to be wrapped in a larger time period of artifacts 'migration period.'

 

If you looking for information about blades, "the sword in Anglo Saxon England" touches on migration era blade construction.  Not the seax, but seems to refer to blade construction during the early migration period.

 

Another lengthy read would be this http://etheses.dur.ac.uk/10354/

That document is rather old, but has tons of information on grave finds from the early Saxon period regarding spears.

 

When you mention Vendel, It makes me think of the art form maybe not as much the form of the blade. If art work is what your looking for Valsgärde is a good key word to look with.  I never totally dived into understanding the Vendel art from - but it dose look very close to the early Anglo Saxon artifacts.  There's probably a whole probable study for someone's PHD in the art form of Celtic/Anglo Saxon/Vendel art.

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I'm thinking the Polish and Baltic States guys here would have a lot to add. The Wends originally lived along the Baltic coast closer to Estonia, but over time moved down into coastal Poland before the 450-600 AD time period, when they blasted across Europe through Spain and into north Africa as the Vandals, leaving such a trail of destruction we still use their name for someone who destroys for the heck of it.  

 

But yeah, their multibar blade construction was similar to all the Germanic Migration-era groups, and you can kind of track their artistic influence into the general Migration-era stuff, like the introduction of garnet cloisonne (which originated in east-central Asia) with the Huns and others sweeping west from the steppes of what's now Turkmenistan  and Uzbekistan through the Caucasus into Europe proper in the 200-400 AD period.  The art seems to have hit the western Black Sea area and, blocked by the Roman Empire, swept north to the Baltic where it hit the Wends and Goths (both Visigoths and Ostrogoths),  before turning west across northern Europe.  Kind of the way you can trace tattoo designs from Los Angeles across the US, spreading from group to group as each one uses recurring stylistic elements to represent what is "cool" to their own group.  A movement of ideas rather than people.  And what we also know as Goths and sometimes Vandals in the modern sense... :lol:  Sorry, can't help it.  My wife has degrees in art history and anthropology, and I'm an archaeologist, so all this cultural historical artistic stuff sometimes just ferments until it comes spewing out of my head like a bad batch of homebrew... 

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Daniel, 

Thanks man! I actually have that book and have began reading and researching it! It’s an excellent book and full, FULL, of information. I picked up about a week ago I believe? I’ll have to check that link out! Spears are definitely a route I’d like to explore. What you’re saying about the art style makes sense, especially it being so close to the anglo-saxon style. Valsgärde will be helpful to look up also, thank you! 
 

 

Alan,

Haha I enjoyed your comments! Would it be safe to assume that by looking at Germanic work as far as forge welding/pattern welding, and blade shapes etc. be a reasonable option as far as creating Vendel type knives? I’ll need to read some more in my book (the one Daniel mentioned) and maybe that will help some more as well. Swords are in the future for me for sure, but I’d like to maybe start with something more familiar in shape. I’ve seen some seax blades that Petr Florianek has made influenced by the Vendel era, and it was making me wonder as well. So here we are. I don’t see to many people making knives from that time in history. Or if they do it’s always a “viking” knife. Plus I saw a photo of Paul Mortimer in his kit, with a seax that was very unusual for a seax I’m used to seeing. Your comment helped a bunch! I’ll have to back track and do some digging it would seem. Thank you! 

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I think Its rather hard to make a clear distinction with a "viking" pattern or migration pattern. Other than when you date the artifacts associated with either time period.  The time periods are so close together, and cultures related to each other that's its probably easier to look at a date and region for what you're looking to research.

 

You will find that the spear document is rather dry - but very complete. During reading it, I was really surprised at how many different types of spears were present in migration era England.

Edited by Daniel W
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Thanks Daniel! I can see what you’re saying. The patterns do look rather similar. In the book I have on the sword in 5-7th century England it has a graph that shows the patterns and also how many bars where used and such as time went on. The “viking” and migration patterns do tend to run together now that you mention it. I wonder if knives of that period were also pattern welded? I know it wasn’t very common, although most common smiths make them pattern welded for beautiful aesthetic reasons. I’m curious as to wether their knives were as decorated as their swords?

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It's hard to say for use from my own research if early seaxs were pattern welded.   There is a whole thread about historical seaxs around here that you can dive into.

 

As for pattern welding being rare, I don't think so at all. At least when it comes to Saxon swords. Their spears on the other hand, were not based on that document, or if they were it was rare. Seems that pattern welded spears were more during that "viking" era.

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I may be off-base here, but my understanding is that the Vendel period is a couple centuries between what we commonly call the Migration era and the Viking Age, so around mid 6th to mid 8th centuries. (some overlap is implied). This was when the Merovingian Dynasty was at it's height, along with some eastern European kingdoms, whose names I forgot. Probably all of those Goths Alan mentioned.
The Seax on the other hand was the primary bladed weapon/tool from centuries prior and centuries after.  Pattern welding shows up in various places at various times throughout the Roman Age through the Viking Age. It's my understanding that PW steel was used by migration Era smiths, Vendel period smiths, and Viking Age smiths alike. We replicate a certain twist pattern named after the Merovingians, because they used it. Not sure when, but that is my understanding.

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That's pretty much it.  In Europe, pattern welding for deliberate decorative effect (rather than what the texts refer to as "piled" construction) appears in the third or fourth centuries AD and goes away between around 1000-1100 AD.  It was very common on swords, fairly common on saxes (more common later than earlier), not uncommon on spears, (especially in the Scandinavian/Baltic regions) and rare on knives.  Working knives were usually iron with a steel edge laid on or folded in. Pattern welding was about status display.  A pattern-welded knife back then is like a Mont Blanc fountain pen now. A very expensive way to do a simple job, meant only to impress the lower classes. 

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Thanks everyone! All this information is super helpful. Sorry for the late responses. My work keeps me pretty busy through the day. 
 

Alan, thank you for that! What you said makes a lot of sense. Especially work knives being pretty simple and a pattern welded Seax being more of a Mont Blanc situation lol! Cracks me up haha. 

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With the wide spread use of duplicate and triplicate copies of documents I'm sort of surprised that fountain pens are still being made.  Can't say that I have seen them on the shelves of the stores that I frequent.

 

Somehow, Alan, it doesn't surprise me one bit that you have a damascus trowel.

 

Doug

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16 hours ago, Doug Lester said:

Somehow, Alan, it doesn't surprise me one bit that you have a damascus trowel.

 

If I had to buy one I wouldn't, but since I can make them...

 

Alan's trowel finished 2.jpg

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That is brilliant Alan... still something is nagging at me that it should have been wolf’s tooth design ;)

Edited by Charles dP
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On 8/15/2020 at 4:31 PM, Doug Lester said:

With the wide spread use of duplicate and triplicate copies of documents I'm sort of surprised that fountain pens are still being made.  Can't say that I have seen them on the shelves of the stores that I frequent.

 

 

Never doubt the nib of a fountain or dip pen.  I frequently draw with pen and ink, and never found a modern pen that could give the same qualities of character for a line as a dip pen could. Writing with one is enjoyable.  You can find really simple inexpensive ones around art stores. 

 

Having a fountain pen on hand is like having a old timer pocket knife.  It says elegance.

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The last job that I had at a clinic down in Virginia we had some duplicate and triplicate medical forms without carbon paper.  It was like pulling like pulling teeth to get a couple of doctors to stop using felt tip pens.  The prescriptions that they wrote were fine for the top copy that was given to the patient but the chart copy was illegible.

 

Doug

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