Rare Viking Sword Fragments Unearthed On Isle of Man

By 24 Hour Museum Staff | 06 May 2008
a photograph of two delicately wrought handle fragments

Two highly decorated parts of the Viking sword recently discovered. © Manx National Heritage

Beautifully cast fragments from a Viking sword have been discovered on the Isle of Man by two members of the Manx Detectorists Society.

Dan Crowe and Rob Farrer discovered the artefacts whilst metal detecting in the north west of the island.

Both Dan and Rob are experienced metal detector users and have found many interesting artefacts over the years, so they knew the importance of what they had found and reported it to Manx National Heritage.

“This is only the 13th recorded Viking sword from the island," said Manx National Heritage Curator for Archaeology, Allison Fox.

"Even though they had done exactly the right thing by not cleaning the surface dirt from the finds, when they brought them into the Manx Museum it was clear straight away that we had something very special indeed."

a photographic mock up of a sword

(Above) Five parts of the Viking sword superimposed to show how the sword may have looked. © MNH

The most decorative part of a Viking sword was usually the handle, or hilt, and it is part of this that has survived over one thousand years in the soil.

Rather like a set of knuckles, the pommel (the top part of the sword) design is divided into 5 parts, or lobes, each with intricately carved designs. In between the lobes are sets of finely twisted silver wires – a technique seen a few times on artefacts from the Isle.

The artefacts have now been donated to the Manx National Collections by the landowner.

Further research will be carried out on the sword before it is permanently displayed in the new Viking and Medieval Gallery at the Manx Museum, Douglas. During the interim period, the sword fragments will be on display in the foyer of the Manx Museum from Monday May 12.

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