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Viking sword found in Norwegian family's garden

Viking sword found in Norwegian family’s garden

Imagine finding a Viking grave right behind your house.

A family who was having an extension built made the discovery while digging up their back garden in Norway, unearthing a 1,100-year-old grave – complete with weapons.

Oddbjørn Holum Heiland had just started work behind his house when he came across a flat stone that turned out to be a grave stone.

Under the slab was a rusty sword, a long spear – or lance – and some jewellery.

Archaeologists were able to date the grave back to Viking times by the type of sword that was found.

Although the weapon was rusty and broken into two pieces, the experts were able to identify it as a 70cm sword with a distinct hilt – or handle.

Sword hilt

“It’s the hilt that tells us this is a sword from the Viking Age,” archaeologist Joakim Wintervoll told Science Norway.

The style of hilt varies according to the period it comes from – as it was often a decorative feature.

The hilt found by the family is believed to be from around the end of the 800s or beginning of 900 CE; the middle of the Viking Age.

Glass beads gilded with gold as well as a gilded belt buckle were found in the grave.

Also found in the grave was a lance which is used by warriors on horseback, glass beads, a belt buckle with some gold on it and a bronze brooch.

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Although we often imagine Vikings with swords, Jo-Simon Frøshaug Stokke, another archaeologist who visited the site, said most could not afford these sorts of objects which suggests the original owner was a relatively wealthy Viking.

“These weapons alone make this a rich grave, but then you have the jewellery as well. So this is a person who clearly had some resources,” Jo-Simon told Science Norway.

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