Last year, a metal detectorist discovered a sword from the Viking Age in a field in central Norway. Archaeologists from the Museum of Natural History and Archaeology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology excavated the site, and found a grave dating to about A.D. 950 that contained the remains of a Viking and his shield, in addition to the inscribed, high-quality sword. Hidden inside the shield boss they found a leather purse that contained several Islamic coins. Norwegian Vikings arrived in Spain in the 800s, where they may have come in contact with Islamic culture, or perhaps the coins were obtained through trade. “We have not managed to find out who owned the sword, but we know that he was a well-traveled man,” archaeologist Ingrid Ystgaard told NRK, as reported by ThorNews. The shield boss also bears combat scars. “The shield boss has a clear cut mark by an ax or a sword. If he died in combat, we do not know,” added Ystgaard. To read about the earliest Norse raids, see “The First Vikings.”
“The Mystery of the Magical ‘Ulfberht’ Viking Sword – Researchers Close in on the German ‘Supermonks’ Believed to have Forged the Superstrong Weapons”
It was the sword of choice for the discerning Viking – superstrong, and almost unbeatable in battle.
Yet mystery surrounds a small number of Viking swords researchers have uncovered.
They are all inscribed with a single word – ‘Ulfberht’, which experts believe may reveal their maker.
a single word – ‘Ulfberht’ – on the blade of a Viking sword. Experts believe a German monastry may have been responsible for the product of the superstrong weapons.
About 170 Ulfberhts have been found, dating from 800 to 1,000 A.D. They are made of metal so pure it baffled archaeologists, who thought the technology to forge such metal was not invented for another 800 or more years, during the Industrial Revolution.
HOW A SWORD IS MADE
In the process of forging iron, the ore must be heated to 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit to liquify, allowing the blacksmith to remove the impurities, known as ‘slag’
Carbon is also mixed in to make the brittle iron stronger.
Medieval technology did not allow iron to be heated to such a high temperature, so slag was removed by pounding it out, a far less effective method.
The Ulfberht, however, has almost no slag, and it has a carbon content three times that of other metals from the time.
It was made of a metal called ‘crucible steel.’
It was thought that the furnaces invented during the industrial revolution were the first tools for heating iron to this extent.
According to Ancient Origins, researchers are now closing in on the mysterious maker.
‘New research brings us closer to the source of the swords, to the kiln in which these legendary weapons were forged,’ it claims.
About 170 Ulfberhts have been found, dating from 800 to 1,000 A.D.
They are made of metal so pure it baffled archaeologists, who thought the technology to forge such metal was not invented for another 800 or more years, during the Industrial Revolution.