Rare Viking 'Petersen's Type I' Pattern-Welded Sword
Iron, 730 grams, 97 cm overall. Circa 9th-10th century AD. A finely-crafted Viking period sword with a thin (about 3 mm) blade and long ( 110 mm) grip. The hilt is of the unusual Petersen's Type I, a later 9th century form which continued in use up to the middle of the 10th century AD. The pommel is subtriangular in profile with an elliptical cross-section, and with a noticeable step where the rounded upper element connects to the flatter upper guard. The pommel and guard are unusually thin for a Viking-period sword. The tang is broad and flat, and shows the continuation of the bars which form the pattern-welded blade. The lower guard is about 90mm wide, flat and slightly elliptical in cross-section with a broad rectangular slot for the blade and tang. The blade is about 55 mm wide at the maximum, composed from two twisted iron billets and an outer shoe: the billets have been created from blocks of iron of varying grades, twisted and forge-welded to each other, then thinned and stretched to the length of the blade (presently 81 cm). The outer edges were formed from a single billet of steel, split and forged onto the core. The surface treatment shows very clearly the construction method and the characteristic herringbone pattern created by the opposed twist of the central billets. The process of pattern-welding was practised in northern Europe from the early centuries AD up to the end of the Viking age, producing very striking surface effects which were much prized. Reference: Peirce, I.G. Swords of the Viking Age, Woodbridge, 2004. Very fine condition. Provenance: from an old private Scandinavian collection, ex Robin Wigington, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK in 1984.