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Supplement to Androshchuk’s sword catalog of Viking Age Sweden

Almost a decade has passed since the publication of Androshchuk’s excellent sword catalog of Viking Age Sweden, which was first published in Russian (2013) and later reworked into English (2014). During this period, at least two new swords or fragments of them were found and published. At the same time, we found two pieces in the older literature that were not included in the catalog, and therefore we decided to map these newly detected swords in the form of a short article, which can be expanded at any time. We can add that during the revision of the Petersen type S swords in 2020, Androshchuk told us that he did not record any new finds of this type in Sweden, which seems to be still current.


Newly detected swords

Sigtuna

In 2014, the site of Götes Mack in Sigtuna was archaeologically examined. During the excavations, among other things, a half of the crossguard (inv. no. F 181:248:11) with an approximate length of 5 cm and a weight of 24 grams was found (Hed Jakobsson 2017: 59, 388, Fig. 67; Androshchuk 2021: 35). The guard was cast of a copper alloy, and traces of silver and possible gilding were found in the alloy. The casting failed and the manufacturer dicarted the guard after the failure. Hed Jakobsson evaluates the ornament, which is located on the area of the guard, as Mammen or Ringerike style, but the closest analogy is Kirpichnikov’s type A-local. The dating of the piece points to the 11th century, probably its first half.

The guard fragment from Sigtuna. Taken from Hed Jakobsson 2017: Fig. 67.

Birka

A new excavation of the surroundings of the grave Bj 750 found a younger grave, which covered the grave Bj 750 and which contained three weapons – a sword (inv. no. 1880), an axe and a spear. The sword is intentionally broken and its blade is bent. The blade was found in 2013, the hilt a year later. The hilt belongs to a hybrid type – it is probably based on the K or N type, the pommel cap is hollow and the tang is peened on top of the pommel cap. Crossguard length 10.2 cm, upper guard length 6.9 cm, handle length 6.5 cm, pommel cap height 2.5 cm, blade width 5 cm, blade length at least 50 cm (Andersson – Näversköld – Vedin 2015: 19, 109) . Due to the context of the find, the whole set can be dated to 2nd-3rd quarter of the 10th century, or the 2nd third of the 10th century.

Sword from Birka. Taken from https://vikingar.historiska.se/.

Skärlöv, Öland

Apparently a context-free find, found in the 19th century, consists of a hollow pommel cap, which was attached to the upper guard with two rivets and at the same time the tang was peened on top of the pommel cap (Salin 1935: 102, 104, Fig. 260). The cap was cast of a copper alloy. According to Salin, the object was kept in a museum in Gothenburg. From the site of Skärlöv, 5 blades are also known, found in 1863, which are stored in the State Historical Museum in Stockholm (SHM 3104) and which Androshchuk included in his catalog. The pommel cap belongs to an unusual group of swords, which is close to the S, V and W types and which can be dated to the turn of the 10th and 11th centuries. To date, we have been able to find only three parallels that come from today’s Latvia and one of which is complete (Tomsons 2019: 69-70).

Pommel cap from Skärlöv and comparison with the sword from Siguldas.
Salin 1935: Fig. 260; Atgāzis 2019: 10. att. tab.

Trummen

The sword, which was found in Trummen Lake in September 1970 and is part of the collection of the Småland Museum in Växjö (inv. no. M 21698), is one of the best-preserved Swedish swords of the Viking Age. Typologically, it belongs to the type X specimens, dating to 10th-11th century. Total length of the sword 92 cm, length of slightly bent blade 78 cm, width of the blade 6 cm, length of the guard 12 cm. The handle is covered with a perfectly preserved wooden handle with a decent carving. On the blade, we find partially preserved remains of an oaken sheath.

Sword from Lake Trummen. Taken from Digitaltmuseum 2022.


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Bibliography

Andersson, G. – Näversköld, K. O. – Vedin, E. (2015). Arkeologisk efterundersökning av grav Bj 750 och intilliggande ytor, RAÄ 118, Adelsö sn, Uppland, Stockholm.

Androshchuk 2013 = Андрощук, Федор (2013). Мечи викингов, Киев.

Androshchuk, Fedir (2014). Viking Swords : Swords and Social aspects of Weaponry in Viking Age Societies, Stockholm.

Androshchuk 2021 = Андрощук, Федір (2021). Десятинна церква : відома і невідома, Київ.

Atgāzis, Māris (2019). Tuvcīņas ieroči Latvijā 10.- 13.gadsimtā, Rīga.

Digitalt Museum 2022 = Svärd. In: digitaltmuseum.se. [2022-03-26]. Available from: https://digitaltmuseum.se/021028789200/svard.

Hed Jakobsson, Anna (2017). I Sigtunas utkant : slutundersökningsrapport över gravar och bebyggelse vid Götes Mack, Uppsala.

Salin, Bernhard (1935). Die altgermanische Thierornamentik : typologische Studie über germanische Metallgegenstände aus dem IV. bis IX. Jahrhundert, Stockholm.

Tomsons, Artūrs (2019). Zobeni Latvijas teritorijā no 7. līdz 16. gadsimtam, Rīga.

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