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sword

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1887,0209.1

  • Description

    Sword with double-edged, pattern-welded and fullered iron blade. The pommel is five-lobed, with lobes divided by twisted silver and copper wires hammered into grooves; the guards are straight with convex sides and rounded ends; pommel and guards with the remains of silver encrustration and animal interlace inlaid in plain copper and copper and silver wires twisted together. Grip tightly wound with plain silver wire, with an oval ring of plaited silver wire at the top and base of the grip.

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  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 10thC
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Type series

    • Petersen S
  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Width: 115 millimetres (hilt)
    • Height: 31.4 millimetres
    • Weight: 1.012 kilograms
    • Length: 885 millimetres (overall)
  • Curator's comments

    The provenance of the Earl of Pembroke's tomb, in which the sword is said to have been found about 1846, may be only a dealer's story and its condition suggests it may be rather from the bed of the Thames (see 'Archaeologia', vol. 50, 530-32). A number of ancient coffins were excavated in and close to the Round of the Temple Church in March 1841, but there is no mention of the discovery of the sword there. The north bank of the Thames was closer to the Temple Church in the Middle Ages than it is now.Catalogue entry for Die Wikinger, Speyer, Germany, Dec. 08-July 09 by Barry Ager

    Sword
    Material: Iron, silver and copper
    L. 88,5 cm (overall)
    Findspot: possibly from the River Thames at Temple Church, London, England
    Dating: Late 10th century
    London, British Museum 1887,2-9,1

    Sword of Petersen type S with double-edged, fullered blade. It has a bulbous, five-lobed pommel and straight guards with convex sides and rounded ends. The pommel is divided from the upper guard by stout, twisted silver wires. Its lobes are divided by double, twisted silver wires arranged in chevron patterns flanked by copper and silver wires twisted together and hammered into grooves. There are substantial remains of silver encrustation secured in finely cross-hatched grooves on both the pommel and guards, with traces of Mammen Style interlace decoration inlaid in both plain copper wire and copper and silver wires twisted together. A plain silver wire has been tightly re-wound round the grip, which may originally have been covered in leather beneath the wire binding, and there is an oval ring of plaited silver wire at each end of the grip. The blade is pattern-welded in three bands, with alternate straight and twisted sections along the length that also alternate across the width; the edges appear plain, though may be of composite layers.

    Shetelig (ed., 1940) 77-8, fig. 45; Webster (1992); Peirce (2002) 104-105

    Bibliography

    I. Peirce, 2002, Swords of the Viking Age, Woodbridge.

    H. Shetelig, 1940 (editor), Viking Antiquities in Great Britain and Ireland. Part IV. Viking Antiquities in England, Oslo.

    L. Webster, 1992, “Sword”, p. 335, cat. no. 413, in E. Roesdahl and D. M. Wilson (editors), From Viking to Crusader. The Scandinavians and Europe 800-1200, Copenhagen.

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  • Bibliography

    • Marzinzik 2013 117 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G41/dc24

  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited:
    2008 14 Dec-2009 12 Jul, Germany, Speyer, Historisches Museum der Pfalz, The Vikings
    1999-2000 08 Sep-09 Jan, London, Museum of London, 'Alfred the Great 849-899: London's forgotten King'
    1992 26 Dec-1993 14 Mar, Denmark, Copenhagen, Nationalmuseet, Vikings and Christians
    1992 1 Sep-15 Nov, Germany, Berlin, Altes Museum, Wikinger, Waräger, Normannen. Die Skandinavier und Europa 800-1200
    1992 1 Apr-20 Jul, France, Paris, Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Les Vikings... Les Scandinaves et l’Europe 800-1200

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1887

  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number

    1887,0209.1

Iron sword with fullered blade, straight guard; remains of silver inlay; grip wound with silver wire and 2 rings; trilobate pommel.

Iron sword with fullered blade, straight guard; remains of silver inlay; grip wound with silver wire and 2 rings; trilobate pommel.

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Object reference number: MCS8368

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