A Viking sword made over a millennium ago was found on a mountain in excellent condition.
The sword was found by Einar Ambakk, a reindeer hunter on a remote mountain in Norway, Fox News reported. The finder notified the Glacier Archaeology Program of the local Oppland County Council.
“It is a common type of Viking sword – what makes it special is the context and the preservation: It was found at 1640 m [5381 feet] above sea level,” said Lars Pilo, from the Oppland County Council, to Fox News by email. “To my knowledge, a Viking sword has never been found at such a high altitude before.”
Pilo said the sword laid in that spot for 1,100 years. He indicated the sword’s remarkable preservation could be due to the high altitude.
“That a sword should survive more than a thousand years in the open is hard for some people to believe,” said Pilo.
The sword’s great condition was helped along by the dry mountain conditions. The sword was found in small, loose stones, rather than buried in stone, also helping to keep it from deteriorating.
The council is still speculating on how the sword got to the mountain. “There were no other associated finds nearby. There are no indication[s] of a burial or that it is some kind of sacrifice. It also appears unlikely that the sword was simply lost here, i.e. left behind for some reason and not recovered later. What kind of Viking would have left his most precious object behind?” the council reported via their Secrets of the Ice website.
“Einar Ambakk told us that the sword was lying with the hilt down between the stones and half of the blade sticking out. He had seen the blade and pulled it out. Only then did he understand that he had found a sword,” wrote Pilo about the moment of discovery, in the Secrets of the Ice article.
Viking swords were notorious for the quality and strength of their materials. They are considered to be the best to come out of Europe, according to documentary “Secrets of the Viking Sword,” by PBS. The swords were extremely valuable and passed down from generation to generation. Many warriors could not afford them, and fought with small axes or spears instead.
The most celebrated of the Viking swords were the Ulfberht. These were the strongest and most coveted Viking swords.