|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:
|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
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 contained
remains of Roman "ring-pommel
swords'" (Ringknaufschwert or
Ringgriffsschwert in the
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:
|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:|
|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.|
|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 129165.|
Books and Other Major Sources
Critical Museum Guide: Dresden
Critical Museum Guide: Museums in Copenhagen
Wagner's "The Ring of the Nibelung"
Danish Bog Sacrifices
Large Pictures 1
The Frankish Empire And Its Swords
Large Pictures chapter 11.4
Large Pictures 2 - Chapter 11.3
Migration Period Swords and Fancy Hilts & Pommels
Northern Sword Types of the First Millennium
10.5.4 Making Steel Things
Old Sagas, Heroes and Swords
Metallography of 8th / 9th Century Swords and Saxes
Analyzing the Forging of a "Viking" Sword
Radiographie Study of Pattern Welded Swords
Theoderic's "Thank You" letter
Large Pictures 3
© H. Föll (Iron, Steel and Swords script)