Vimose
Vimose is a big bog, about 50.000 m2. Engelhardt was digging in it before 1859 and found a huge amount of objects. Even before Engelhardt started, more than 1500 objects had been found at random, including an anchor in 1512.
There were at least 3 big deposits:
  • Vimose 1; around 70 AD - 150 AD (B2); no swords.
  • Vimose 2; around 150 AD (C1a)
  • Vimose 3; around 230 AD (C1b); large number of objects
  • Vimose 4 etc.; some from C2 (late 3rd century) up to migration period (5th century). Late Roman empire swords.
We have "only" 85 swords - but 135 chapes and about 300 sword belts. One wonders. Did some cunning old Danes hold back the really precious stuff and just pitched in empty sheaths?
Than we have 800 lance and 3190 spear points. And shield buckles, spurs, combs, and so on. Here are a few of these objects dating from Vimose 2:
     
Vimose 2 finds
Vimose 2 objects
Large picture
Source: Compiled from pictures in "Sieg und Triumph"
     
  Vimose 2 contained remains of Roman "ring-pommel swords'" (Ringknaufschwert or Ringgriffsschwert in the true language), rather unusual items. Don't mix them up with the "pommel rings" often found on Merovingian pyramid pommel hilts.
The remains are the ring pommels as shown above. What the whole sword looked like can be seen here:
     
 
Ring pommel sword (Ringknaufschwert) Mainz; Vimose
Ring pommel sword (Ringknaufschwert) Mainz; Vimose
Source Christian Miks
     
  The almost perfectly preserved sword shown above was found in 1981 in Mainz, Germany. Its ring pommel is rather similar to one from Vimose. This kind of pommel was not uncommon in the Eastern parts of the Roman empire around 50 AD - 200 AD but rather rare elsewhere. Only about 20 specimen have been found in the "Barbaricum; at least 4 from Vimose.
The sword appears to be not pattern welded.
Vimose 2 also contained 17 saxes; the picure above shows 2 bend ones. The 67 spatha type double-edged swords (mostly Vimose-Illerup type) , however, mostly date from Vimose 3. Here is an example:
     
Finds from Vimose 3
Vimose 3 objects
Source: Compiled from pictures in "Sieg und Triumph"
     
  The sword look decidedly pattern welded and this seems to be true for a good number of them. 19 out of 67 swords have "factory" stamps and pretty much all of them must be Roman.
One of the most spectacular finds from Vimose is the oldest completely preserved chain mail from Northern Europe. No date is given; my guess is Vimose 3.
     
Chain mail; Vimose; Copenhagen museum
   
Chain mail; Vimose; Copenhagen museum
Chain mail form Vimose
Source: Photographed in the Copenhagen Museum
     
  More than 20,000 small rings have been interlocked by riveting; the weight is around 10 kg. The style is typical for Roman chain mail from the 3rd century AD, and Germanic "auxiliarerne" (mercenaries) also used it.
Chain mail like his must have been very precious and expensive and us only affordable for top officers. If we take the circumference of one ring to be about 3 cm, 600 m of steel wire was needed for the construction, involving a lot of wire drawing.
Vimose is about the only bog that contained very early stuff, including swords, and late things. The way the objects sacrificed changed with time has already triggered studies into the changes of warfare and fighting, including the changes in weapons.
The many iron artifacts (besides swords we have also all the lance and spear points) offer an unique opportunity to study the development of iron and steel technology in the time frame critical for pattern welding. I am not aware of such a study but entertain high hopes that it will be done in the not-so-distant future.
     

1) Christian Miks: "Ein römisches Schwert mit Ringknaufgriff aus dem Rhein bei Mainz", Mainzer Archäologische Zeitschrift 8, 2009, pp 129–165.

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go to True Name

go to Critical Museum Guide: Museums in Copenhagen

go to Nydam

go to Danish Bog Sacrifices

go to Large Pictures 1

go to The Frankish Empire And Its Swords

go to Large Pictures chapter 11.4

go to Migration Period Swords and Fancy Hilts & Pommels

go to Northern Sword Types of the First Millennium

go to 10.5.4 Making Steel Things

go to Maps of Various Cultures

© H. Föll (Iron, Steel and Swords script)