- Museum number
Spear-head; iron; of slender lozenge-shaped section; the socket inlaid with copper and silver.
Long slender iron spear-head of Petersen's Type K with silver and copper encrusted socket; the blade is of lozenge-shaped cross-section with an angular shoulder between socket and blade. There is a pair of holes for a single transverse rivet at the base of the socket. The entire length of the socket is encrusted with silver and copper wires, the criss-cross striations for which are particularly clear at the borders, both of which consist of a band of alternating silver and copper chevrons. Twisted pairs of silver and copper wires alternate with plain wires of both metals, to form transverse rows of herring-bone pattern between the borders.
- Production date
Height: 20 millimetres
Length: 546 millimetres
Weight: 300 grammes
Width: 23.40 millimetres
- Curator's comments
Perhaps from London, but the printed catalogue of the Bateman Coll says only "from the Thames", with no closer findspot.
From the Thames in 1848 (See also registration no. 1838,0110.2). Herring-bone ornament of this type is characteristic of Norwegian workmanship (Blindheim, C. (1962): Smedgraven fra Bygland i Morgedal, 'Viking', xxvi, 37f.); the spear-type is common in the MVP (Petersen, J. (1919): 'Die norske vikingsverd. En typologisk-kronologisk studie over vikingetidens vaaben' (Videnskaps-Selskapets Skrifter, 2, Hist.-Filos. Klasse, 1919, No. 1), Kristiania, 31-3), as 260.
Literature: Kendrick, T.D. (1934): Some types of ornamentation on Late Saxon and Viking period weapons in England, 'Eurasia Septentrionalis Antiqua', ix, 398, fig. 5; Shetelig, H. (ed.) (1940): 'Viking Antiquities in Great Britain and Ireland IV', Oslo, 84, fig. 49; Graham-Campbell, J. A. and Kidd, D. (1980): 'The Vikings', London, p. 63.
Catalogue entry for Die Wikinger, Speyer, Germany, Dec. 08-July 09 by Barry Ager
Material: Iron, silver and copper
L. 54,5 cm
Findspot: River Thames, England
Dating: 10th century
London, British Museum 1893,7-15,2
Spearhead of Petersen’s type K with a long, slender blade of lozenge-shaped section and angular shoulders. The tapering socket is densely covered with horizontal bands of inlaid wires hammered into fine, cross-hatched grooves in the surface: pairs of twisted copper and silver wires are alternately reversed on either side of a plain silver wire creating ‘fir-tree’ lines, which are in turn separated by plain copper wires. Round the top end of the socket there are four plain triangles inlaid in silver wire interlocking with four triangles of copper wire. Near the mouth there is a similar arrangement of seven silver and seven copper triangles, and two opposed rivet holes for attachment to the shaft. Spearheads with this type of decoration are known mainly from Norway.
Graham-Campbell (1980) 73 Taf. 259
- On display (G41/dc24)
- Exhibition history
2008 14 Dec-2009 12 Jul, Germany, Speyer, Historisches Museum der Pfalz, The Vikings
1981 USA, Minneapolis, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, The Vikings
1980 4 Oct-1981 4 Jan, USA, New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Vikings
1980 19 Feb-20 July, London, BM, The Vikings
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Found in April 1848.
- Britain, Europe and Prehistory
- Registration number