L.1 Viking Age sword with curved guards of "British" type

Use "hot spots" in orange to zoom to Hilt (54 kb), Pattern view #1 (52 kb), Pattern view #2 (50 kb) or Overall View (61 kb JPG)

Find place  Unknown
Collection Private 
 Length Overall: 85 cm. Blade: 74.6 cm.
 Date 875 to 950 AD
 Condition Excavated with moderate pitting, still solid and straight.

The appearance of the curved upper and lower (cross) guards of this excavated sword suggest that it represents a Petersen type L sword which has lost its pommel. Because relatively large numbers of swords of this style have been found in Britain and because many decorated examples, including those found elsewhere in Europe, are in the Trewhiddle style, associated with late Ninth Century Anglo-Saxon manuscripts (see Davidson (1962), p.52 - 58, 68 - 71, also figs. 41, 42, 66 - 68 and 71), this style, also referred to as the Wallingford type, has been associated with Anglo-Saxon Britain. Jakobsson (1992), p. 221 includes a map plotting distribution of published find-places of type L swords, further enumerated on page 210, which may be seen to be common in England (15 examples), even more common in Norway (with 37), and also occasionally found in Sweden and Denmark and rarely found in Belgium, Ireland, and Iceland. Willems and Ypey (1985) document a handsome example with a silver and niello decorated hilt and iron blade inlays found in a truckload of gravel dredged from the Meuse River in the Limburg Province of the Netherlands.

The find-place of the present example is unknown. It was formerly in the collection of Howard M. Curtis, a well known Hollywood stunt man, and came up as lot 206 in the auction of his collection at Christie's London on October 31, 1984, bringing £2,376.

Further descriptions of the hilt and pattern-welded blade accompany the linked detail illustrations.


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 Copyright © 1998 by Lee A. Jones