Large Pictures Chapter 11.4
|Some Viking sword hilts that could be found in the Copenhagen museum
|Some Viking swords as exhibited in the museum in Bergen; Norway.
One blade is clearly pattern welded, two carry inscriptions of some kind.
|Some Viking swords as exhibited in the museum in Helsinki, Finland
|Some "precious" hilts of Viking swords.
|Frankish sword wielders from the "Stuttgarter psalter"" from 825 AD.
|Swords displayed in the Haithabu
museum in North Germany.
Haithabu was a large Viking settlement at a strategically important place for controlling East - West
trade in Northern Europe; look at this map. The swords shown must have belonged to high-up guys,
chieftains or kings. They are almost certainly of Frankish origin even so Haithabu had many blacksmith making a
wealth of everyday iron objects.
The last one on the far right might be the exception. It is rather plain but sports an inlaid copper cross on the blade;
see the close-up below.
Most of the swords are encrusted with remnants of the scabbard and it is impossible to
see if they are pattern welded or not. The rather dim illumination doesn't help either.
|Some details of the swords above.
|Here is a sword (hilt) shown in the Neues Museum in Berlin that is almost identical to the one above .
|Metallograpy of an all-steel sword from the 9th century found im Moravia; Czech Republic.
|Metallograpy of a second all-steel sword from the Moravia 9th
century grave yard.
|The other empires and cultures around the Frankish Empire at the death of Charlemagne in 814 AD
|Here is a large version (with enhanced contrast) of the picture
in the Psalterium Aureum.
It shows a scene from the tales around King David; here the taking and pillaging of the city of Edom.
|Below are the Ulfberht swords from the 2014 Berlin Viking exhibition
I apologize for the bad quality but picture taking was not permitted and the illumination
- as seems to be the present custom - was shitty.
They are from (not quite in the order going down; the museum didn't provide details):
1. Peltomaa, Häme, Finnland; 2. Wiskiauten / Mochewoje, Obl. Kaliningrad, Russia;
3. Berlin, 4. Awecken, Awajki, Woj. Ermland-Masuren, Poland; 5. Schwedt, Brandenburg, Germany
(see also below) 6. Unknown place in Norway;
(with some chain mail found at the same place), 7. Ostrów Lednicki, Poland
|Here is an Ulfberht sword that was sold for 13.000 in 2012 by Bonhams:
|Here is another Ulfberht sword that was sold at an auction
in Brussels in 2011 for 14.000 by Hermann Historica & Pierre Bergé.
It is dated to 1050 - 1150 and extremely well preserved.
|Here is a splendid Ulfberht
from the achaeological museum in Dublin / Irland.
It is known as the Ballinderry Sword and here is what the museum has to say about it:
The first known piece of German technology in Ireland dates to the mid-9th century.
It is a superb sword marked with the name of its maker Ulfberht. The Vikings, who
had a huge impact on Irish history, bought blades from high quality workshops in
the Rhineland. Ulfberht was the brand name of a master whose blades have been
found as far east as Russia and as far west as the lake dwelling in Ballinderry, County
Westmeath where this sword was found in 1928. His name had such prestige that
there is even evidence of cheaper copies pretending to be Ulfberht originals: an early
example of brand piracy.The Ballinderry sword is one of Ulfberhts finest. It tells us a
lot about the mixing of cultures: the blade is German, the hilt and pommel are
Scandinavian and the whole thing belonged to an Irish chieftain. He acquired it, possibly
in battle but more probably through trade with Viking Dublin. It suggests that the
newcomers created a kind of arms race among the native Irish. This was, quite literally,
cutting-edge technology and the Irish, not for the last time, had to adapt to it.
The National Museum of Ireland Archaeology
|Here is the Hamburg Ulfberht
sword. It's inscription is not easily "readable" any more but it is clear that the letters
were made from striped (and twisted) rods
Both, cutting edge and bulk shows a kind of "striation" along the length of the blade. That can be seen as strong indication
that the material was faggoted and piled.
It that interpretation is correct, at least this "true" Ulfberht sword has not been made from crucible steel as claimed
by Alan Williams.
|Now I have some funny ones! First another Ulfberht from Hamburg
- or so the figure captions claims
("das Ulfberht Schwert - Exportschlager aus dem Frankenreich" (The Ulfberht sword - major export item from the Frankish empire)
in some Google sponsored web site. Second, one from a recent (Nov. 2017) auction of Hermann Historica, advertised
(my translation) as "Viking sword, Middle Europe, 9th century; ... difficult to read inscription (Ulfberht)?.
Their funny because you must imbibe quite a bit if something good before you can make out an "Ulfberht" on those swords.
They are definitely made from folded (or faggoted) steel, though and thus are definitely not made from wootz steel.
|Here is the Nuernberg Ulfberht
sword. It was found in the Rhine close to Mannheim (South Germany) and
is dated to the 9th century.
It's inscription is very well preserved and reads: +VLFBEHT+. It thus contains a "typo" and wouldn't be counted
among the "true" Ulberhts.
The two lower pictures show the Ulfbehrt together with a colleague from the front and the backside. .
The "colleague" was found in the Danube in Bavaria, dates to the 9th / 8th century and has some more
decorative inlay on the front and the back. The Ulfbehrt also has some structure on the back
but it is difficult to see details-.
|Two more Ulfbehrt's
follow that I found in unexpected places.
The first one lives in the "Archäologisches Landesmuseum Brandenburg". It is a genuine Ulfbehrt
although I couldn't quite make out the spelling group it belongs to. Here it is:
|The second unexpected Ulfberht is in the
"Stadtmuseum Aachen". There is definitely an inscription,
probably a variant of "Ulfberht", but it is not possible to see details.
|Yet another Ulfbehrt
from the "Deutsches Klingenmuseum Solingen".
It is decribed in the book given in the link
|The so far last Ulfbehrt
from an auction house (once more Hermann Historica),
coming up for bidding in May 2020. It starts at 15.000.-
|The map show the travel route of Vikings, including how far
they went down some major rivers.
The rivers themselves may go on, and that is not shown.
|Here is the front page of the "Süddeutsche Zeitung"
from Oct. 25th 2014, advertising a
large Ulfberht article in its "science" pages. The article is (surprisingly) good. It reports
recent findings from the newest Ulberht sword found in 2014 in the river Weser in North Germany,
and that these findings do not quite support the "steel from the East" hypothesis.
"Weser" Ulfberht. The pommel was covered with a lead-tin
(?) alloy, and the lead comes from a mine in the "Rheinisches Schiefergebirge", not far from
the old and powerful monasteries of Fulda and Lorsch
in the heartland of the Frankish empire; just a bit south-east of Cologne in the map above.
Both monasteries were producers of weapons, say historians.
|Hypereutectoid bloomery steel (about 0.9 % carbon) from Schmalkalden , probably 18 th century.
Massive cementite needles are running into a pearlitic structure.
Is there slag? Maybe yes (the black regions), but it is not certain.
(Buchwald II; p. 219)
|Silver denars from "Arabia" (actually Samarkand / Iran) brought back to Denmark by the Vikings.
|Here are some details of one of the Viking swords displayed
in the Stockholm Archaeological Museum. Clearly visible is:
|Here is an "Ingelrii" sword; shown in Hannovrr, Germany.
It was found in the
"Devils Bog" near Worpswede and was dated to the 11th century.
The inscription (probably with twisted rods) has disappeared, only the grooves remained
Books and Other Major Sources
Critical Museum Guide: Metropolitan Museum, NYC
Critical Museum Guide: Landesmuseum Württemberg; Württemberg State Museum, Stuttgart, Germany
Critical Museum Guide: Museums in Copenhagen
Critical Museum Guide: Landesmuseum Schleswig-Holstein in Schleswig, Germany
Critical Museum Guide: "The Vikings" Special Exhibition from Oct. 2014 - Jan. 2015 in the Martin-Gropius-Bau
Critical Museum Guide: Moesgaard Museum in Aarhus; Denmark
Critical Museum Guide: Neues Museum in Berlin, Germany
Germanisches Nationalmuseum, Nürnberg, Germany
Museums in Athens and Olympia
Radiocarbon (C14) Dating
Danish Bog Sacrifices
11.4.2 Blades of Viking Era Swords
Sword Polishing and Revealing the Pattern / Structure
11.4.3 Ulfberht Swords
The Frankish Empire And Its Swords
Illerup Swords with Special Patterns
11.4. The Transition to All-Steel Swords / 11.4.1 Viking Swords
Northern Sword Types of the First Millennium
Serpent in the Sword
Käthe Harnecker and Wootz Blades
Additional Pictures chapter 11.4
Last Charcoal Smelter in Germany
Moravian 9th Century Swords
Some Less Important
Maps of Various Cultures
Mythology of Wootz Swords: Cutting a Stone
© H. Föll (Iron, Steel and Swords script)