The sword is in such good condition it could be used today. Photo: Hordaland Country Council
UPDATED: A hiker travelling the ancient route between western and eastern Norway found a 1,200-year-old Viking sword after sitting down to rest after a short fishing trip. Further studies of the area will take place next spring.
The sword, found at Haukeli in central southern Norway will be sent for conservation at the The University Museum of Bergen.
Jostein Aksdal, an archaeologist with Hordaland County
said the sword was in such good condition that if it was given a new grip and a polish, it could be used today.
“The sword was found in very good condition. It is very special to get into a sword that is merely lacking its grip,” he said.
“When the snow has gone in spring, we will check the place where the sword was found. If we find several objects, or a tomb, perhaps we can find the story behind the sword,” he said.
He said that judging by the sword's 77cm length, it appeared to come from 750-800AD.
Photo: Hordaland Country Council
“This was a common sword in Western Norway. But it was a costly weapon, and the owner must have used it to show power,” he said.
The hiker found the sword three years ago but only recently turned it over to archaeologists.
Experts don't know why the sword would have been left in the mountains.
"Maybe there is a grave there, or was it left there by a trader? Was it hidden there for one reason or another? The only limits are our imagination," Aksdal said during an interview in late October. "Did someone die there? Or was there a fight, a theft, a murder or something else? We can't say."
A more thorough study of the site will be carried out next spring when the snow has melted.
The cold dry weather in the mountainous region of southern Norway probably helped to keep the object in good condition. There, "temperatures remain below zero for six months of the year," Aksdal said.
While climate change has many negative implications for planet Earth, it is proving beneficial to archeologists.
"The melting snow means that a growing number of ancient objects are seeing the light of day," Aksdal said.