0.1 Pattern-welded blade of the early Migration Period

Use "hot spots" in orange to zoom to Hilt (56 kb), Pattern (50 kb); or Overall View (12 kb JPG)

Find place  Rhine valley, upstream from Emmerich
Collection Private 
 Length Overall: 91.3 cm. Blade: 78.7 cm.
 Date 450 to 600 AD
 Condition Moderate erosion highlighting the pattern-welded construction with some pitting; still solid and straight, reportedly a land surface find in a swamp.

Except for the tang button, all traces of the hilt of this sword have long vanished, the gray-green patina on its blade being no different from that on the exposed tang. The tang button is of iron, much wider than it is thick. The tang is slender and relatively thin. The central face of each side of the blade is composed of four pattern-welded strips which occupy about fifty percent of the blade's width. This central area appears to be very slightly depressed, consistent with a shallow, broad fuller. The pattern-welded bands alternate lengthwise between twisted areas and straight (non-twisted) areas, with the twisted areas generally being somewhat longer than the straight areas. Side-by-side bands on a face are twisted in opposite directions in the twisted areas and have corresponding straight segments. The twisted areas exhibit a curved pattern, suggesting some degree of grinding to have been involved in forming the fuller. As the areas of twisted and straight patterns are different on each of the blade faces (there are thirteen segments on one side and twelve on the other), the blade must be composed of at least two layers centrally, with a total of eight patterned bands being visible. The spatulate tip, which will dominate through the Viking Age and into the Norman Period, is well developed in this example.

Return to Virtual Museum
 Copyright © 1998 by Lee A. Jones