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Hiker finds 1,200-year-old Viking sword in Norway

By Ed Adamczyk
Hiker finds 1,200-year-old Viking sword in Norway
A well-preserved, 1,200-year-old Viking sword was found by a hiker in Norway. Photo courtesy Hordaland County, Norway, Council

BERGEN , Norway, Oct. 23 (UPI) -- An archaeologist said a 1,200-year-old Viking sword discovered by a hiker in Norway is sturdy enough to be used today.

The 30-inch wrought iron sword is rusty and missing its handle but is otherwise in exceptional condition.

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"The sword was found in very good condition. It is very special to get into a sword that is merely lacking its grip," said Hordaland County, Norway, archeologist Jostein Aksdal. "When the snow has gone in spring, we will check the place where the sword was found. If we find several objects, or a tomb, perhaps we can find the story behind the sword. This was a common sword in western Norway, but it was a costly weapon, and the owner must have used it to show power."

He added it dates to about the year 750.

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It was found in Haukeli, in central-southern Norway, by hiker Goran Olsen, who stopped for a rest and discovered it under some rocks along a well-traveled hiking path. The area is covered with frost and snow for six months of the year and features low humidity in the summer, contributing to the sword's preserved condition.

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The artifact has been sent for preservation to the University Museum of Bergen, Norway, and plans for an archeological expedition to the site of the find are underway.

"We are really happy that this person found the sword and gave it to us," said County Conservator Per Morten Ekerhovd. "It will shed light on our early history. It's a very (important) example of the Viking age."

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