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Adam S.





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PostPosted: Sun 19 Jul, 2009 12:36 pm    Post subject: The Cawood Sword         Reply with quote

I am looking for information and measurements (beyond the easy-to-find blade length of 81.2cm) of the Cawood sword.

If anyone knows the weight, CoG, CoP, width of blade and tang, those sort of things I would love to know.

It's and interesting sword. I know that the MAD Dwarf Workshop has done an interpretation of it, but I'm wondering if anyone has done any first hand measuring.

Thanks for your time,

~Adam



Image linked form the Yorkshire Museum http://www.yorkshiremuseum.org.uk
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Peter Lyon
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PostPosted: Sun 19 Jul, 2009 11:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I got to measure and handle it last year.
Accession number YORYM: 2007.3086
Weight 1.232kg (but remember it is corroded and has been resurfaced/cleaned, probably lost about 10% of its original weight).
Blade to shoulder 815mm
Total length 948mm
Grip length 85mm
Width of cross 160mm
Width of blade at shoulder 57mm
Width of blade before curve in to tip 31mm
Balance point 225mm along blade (measured from the junction with the cross)
No CoP as that would have required banging the flat of the blade, which would probably not have gone down well!

Despite the blade-heaviness that the figure above suggest, my overall impression of it was of a very "handy" sword that had good weight distribution and didn't feel very blade heavy at all. However the corrossion has removed more from the blade than the hilt, and it might have originally been heavier in the hand.

Funny little story with it too. I looked at the Cawood and Gilling swords, which took about 45 minutes. The curator joked about getting it back in the display case before the cops turned up, so of course I had to ask what that was about. It is one of those item that, if the alarms for the display case go off, the police turn up with guns. It is that valuable.

Still hammering away
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M. Eversberg II




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PostPosted: Mon 20 Jul, 2009 2:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for the info, Peter! Do swords of this type (Xa I think) normally have fullered tangs?

M.

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Luka Borscak




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PostPosted: Mon 20 Jul, 2009 4:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I think Cawood sword and its Norway twin are classified as type XII swords.
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L. Clayton Parker




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PostPosted: Mon 20 Jul, 2009 7:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

that looks like a type XII to me too
They all hold swords, being expert in war: every man hath his sword upon his thigh, because of fear in the night. -The Song of Songs, Which Is Solomon's
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Justin King
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PostPosted: Mon 20 Jul, 2009 7:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oakeshott did indeed classify this sword and the similar one in Oslo as type XII. The example in Oslo has a somewhat wider tip area and is probably closer to a type Xa, but I think it makes little sense to second-guess the man, at least from where I'm sitting.
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Adam S.





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PostPosted: Mon 20 Jul, 2009 10:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you very much, Peter!

I'm thinking of having a custom blade made with the Cawood as inspiration. This will be a great help.

I find this blade fascinating. Even with the corrosion, the lines are very clear.

This is great.

Again, Thank you,

~A
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Adam S.





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PostPosted: Fri 07 Aug, 2009 5:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'd like an opinion.

Does it look as if the pommel may have had wire work? There are two fairly pronounced pits near the base of the central lobe that look like they could have either been recesses for then ends of wire, or just deep pitting.



I can't remember where I got this image, but I believe it's from the Yorkshire Museum. Same as the first.

Thanks,
~Adam
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Justin King
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PostPosted: Fri 07 Aug, 2009 5:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The grooves and the holes together do make it tempting to think that it was decorated with wire. I had never seen a close-up picture of that pommel, interesting...
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Luka Borscak




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PostPosted: Fri 07 Aug, 2009 5:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If I'm not mistaken, its brother sword from Norway was found buried in a box/coffin. It's was one off the ways of deposing swords, maybe if you have no sons or anyone else worthy of inheriting the sword or for some other reasons. So, if it was put in a box and buried, you would think the wire on the pommel would survive, right? But there was no wire in the box...
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Adam S.





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PostPosted: Fri 07 Aug, 2009 5:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Luka Borscak wrote:
If I'm not mistaken, its brother sword from Norway was found buried in a box/coffin. It's was one off the ways of deposing swords, maybe if you have no sons or anyone else worthy of inheriting the sword or for some other reasons. So, if it was put in a box and buried, you would think the wire on the pommel would survive, right? But there was no wire in the box...


Interesting note, Luka. Thanks. Do you, or anyone else really, know where I could find info on the Cawood's Norwegian cousin? My searches have been fruitless... Worried

Thank you,
~Adam
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Luka Borscak




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PostPosted: Fri 07 Aug, 2009 6:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is a quote from the Records of the Medieval Sword:

XII.10
Type: XII
Find-place: Korsoygaden, Stange in Hedmark, Norway
Collection: Oslo Museum
Blade-length: 347/8" (88.5 cms)
Pommel-type: Unclassified
Cross-style: Unclassified
Date: c.1100 + or -25.
Condition: Not excavated in the true sense, having been buried in a stone chest. Apart from overall fine surface pitting, very good.

This sword was found in 1888 when a railway-cutting was being driven across farmland at Korsoygaden in the Hedmark district of Norway. It was in a stone 'cist' not a coffin; it was too small for a body; with it were found its scabbard and the remains of a wooden shield. It is a sword of absolutely outstanding importance, not only to the dating of a pommel-type and an unusual cross-style, but as being a true archaeological proof of what seems to have been a not uncommon practise in the Migration Period and the Viking Age even into the high Middle Ages of burying swords, armour or both in stone boxes on chests called for archaeological convenience 'cists'. This is often mentioned in the Norse literature, but I believe at present this is the only actual example recorded.
It has previously been stated (mostly by me, in my Archaeology of Weapons and again in The Sword in the Age of Chivalry) that, because of its pommel type (not one of the 'true' Viking forms) that this sword must be of the later 13th century. This is because some very eminent antiquarian scholars of the mid-20th century stated firmly (on no really sound grounds) that this 'developed' form of the lobated Viking pommel must of necessity be of late date, (a) because it was developed and (b) because they had never seen one like it in a Viking context (having not noticed this particular sword at all) and (c) because there are many effigies and grave-slabs and manuscript pictures, all of a date c.12701320, where various forms of lobated pommel are shown. Certainly, the old Viking form did persist. I believe this was partly because old and treasured swords continued in use, as they always had in previous ages and indeed as they did even into the 19th century, and partly because probably for purely un-scholarly sentimental reasons, an old (perhaps ancestral) Viking pommel was adapted some three or four centuries after it was actually made.

Why, then, can this sword from Korsoygaden be dated, firmly and uncontrovertably, to the late Viking Age? The fact of its burial in a cist, significant though it is, is not proof, since it is known that such burials were made after the Viking age. However, proof is supplied by the runes inscribed upon the bronze collars which once held the grip at top and bottom features which in the Norse literature are called respectively Vettrim (for the upper one?) and Valbost (for the lower?). These runic characters, rather roughly incised in a rather 'home-made' style, have been positively dated as being no later than 1150 and unlikely to be much earlier than 1100. These datings have been made by two extremly eminent Runologists, Eric Moltke and O. Rygh, each independently corroborating the other's finding. On stylistic grounds and on the circumstances of its burial, Jan Petersen dated the sword to c.1050, as also has Dr Ada Bruhn Hoffmeyer.

Therefore this proof of date is sound, and (as you will see) causes a most interesting re-dating of the next sword to be shown in this series, which obviously came from the same workshop. Corroboration of the date can be found, too, in at least two pictorial representations, one dating from c.9501000 and the other a couple of decades later. The first (iii), a drawing from an Anglo-Saxon manuscript. (BM MS Cotton Nero C.IV) shows a sword very like a Type XI, such as No. XI.8 above; but its unusually long, arched cross is remarkably similar to both of these actual hilts, this Korsoygaden one and the one over the page. The other artefact is a late Viking Age (c.1100) grave-slab which used to be in the churchyard at Ebberston in Northumberland (iv). Here the pommel is of the same form; so indeed, as far as form goes arched shape, and clubbed ends except that it is short, is the cross. So, to add to the evidence of the runes which is proof enough in itself, we have sound contemporary pictorial evidence as well.

The runes read: Asmundr gerosi mik, Asleikr a mik Asmund made me; Asleik owns me. That's interesting in its own right, too. I only wish we could know the sword's name as well.

There is, most unusually for this period (but not for the later Iron Age which preceded it) a stamped maker's mark (or what seems to be one) on one side of the tang just below the pommel, which is hidden unless (as in photograph i) the Vettrim has slipped down to show it This seems to be just a plain hexagonal shape.

It has been published now several times, but I will only give the most accessible publications here:

Hoffmeyer, I, p.33, and for the Ebberston slab, II, plate III; Davidson; p.63, fig.89, p.80

Oakeshott, AOW; Oakeshott, SAC; herein is false and outdated information, which must be rejected.

Oakeshott, E. The Third Park Lane Arms Fair, Catalogue 1986. A very full discussion of the sword and its congener, reprinted here as Appendix B.

From Appendix B:

Fig.6 shows this sword; it was found in 1880 in Norway when a railway cutting was being driven across farmland at Korsoygaden in Hedmark, not far from Oslo, in the Oldsakssammling of which city is a preserved.4 It was in a stone box or chest, or a cist as archaeologists have called it. It was not a coffin; it was too small, nor were there any remains of cremated bones. Besides the sword there was its scabbard of wood covered with tooled leather, and a round wooden shield with a large metal boss. So far this seems to be the only example of such a find, but we learn from Anglo-Saxon and Norse poems that in Northern Europe from the 7th to 11th centuries the storage, as well as the burial of swords in stone cists was not uncommon. There is a passage for instance in an Anglo-Saxon heroic poem which speaks of a sword hidden in a Stanfaet. The literal meaning of Fat/Faet is Vessel, or receptacle - the same as the modern word vat, and Stan clearly refers to stone. Another word used in similar contexts is Syncfaet, treasure-chest.5

A parallel word in Old Norse is Ker, which suggests a tub or tub-like vessel, and it is used in connection with the storing of swords - so much so that one of the many kennings for a sword is 'Fish of the Ker' and the word is used in the same way as Faet. A mythical sword called Levateinn in one of the Edda poems is securely hidden in 'the Ker of Segjarn, secured by nine sure fastenings'. Again in Gudrunorhvot we are told that Gudrun chooses helmets and mail-coats for her sons from such chests in the store-room. The fact that special words were used in Old Norse as well as Anglo-Saxon suggests that a particular kind of stone receptacle was used for arms.

The use of casks for holding swords is borne out by the well-known fact that casks were used for transporting sword-blades from the centres of their production, right up to the end of the 18th century.

There is then an actual Stanfaet containing a sword and shield, an archaeological fact which cannot be disputed, and we can compare and check it against that fragment from the Anglo-Saxon poem Waldere, where the eponymous hero refers to a sword: ' that other which I possess, hidden in a Stanfaet. I know that Theodoric himself intended to send it to Widia, and much treasure along with the sword'.6

The reference here to Theodoric and the early date of the poem make it plain that the use of Stanfaet in this way goes back at least to the 7th century, the probable date of the poem, if not to the fifth, the actual date of Theodoric. That there was also a shield of undeniably Viking style in the Stanfaet at Korsoygaden suggests very powerfully that the sword dates before the 14th century.

All this archaeological and literary evidence of its date however is made purely academic by the runic legend engraved on the bronze vettrim. Transliterated, this reads: Asmundr Gersi Mik-Asleikr a Mik = Asmund made me. Asleik owns me.

In his definitive work on the Viking sword, Dr Jan Petersen7 dated this sword at c.10501100. This dating has been accepted by most authorities on Scandinavian archaeology, but perhaps most significantly to this study of swords by Dr Ada Bruhn Hoffmeyer8 and Dr Hilda Ellis Davidson.9 The eminent runologists Eric Moltke and O. Rygh10 give the runes a rather later date, c.11001150, but there is nowhere (except in what I erroneously wrote in The Sword in the Age of Chivalry) any suggestion that they can be any later than c.1150.

We may therefore assign a mean date of c.1100 for this sword which must, of course, be for its making, not its using, for very often at this period swords were handed down to several generations of warriors. However, the circumstance of its burial in a stone chest, with a Viking's shield, does indicate that it was in fact enclosed in its Stanfaet during the Viking age.

The significance of this sword to this inquiry is of course that its hilt is so very close in the rather unusual forms of cross and pommel to the Cawood one that we cannot evade the conclusion that both were the product of one hilt-making workshop, if not of one individual hilt-maker. Again, one is tempted to make incorrect use of the word 'identical', for the only differences between the two hilts are in minor and unimportant details.

P.S. I hope it's legal to copy a paragraph of a book here? If not, moderators, please delete this.
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Adam S.





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PostPosted: Fri 07 Aug, 2009 6:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Luka, you are a prince!

I don't suppose you know where to find photos as well? Big Grin

~Adam
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Luka Borscak




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PostPosted: Fri 07 Aug, 2009 6:29 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Haha, thanks, no problem really.
The picture is from this site, from features about type XII swords.
http://www.myArmoury.com/view.html?features/pic_spotxii05.jpg
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Adam S.





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PostPosted: Fri 07 Aug, 2009 7:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks, Luka.

I did see that in the spotlight article on type XII blades. I was hoping there might be more out there though.

Didn't Winlass/Museum Reps. do a version of it?

~Adam
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Luka Borscak




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PostPosted: Sat 08 Aug, 2009 3:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sorry, I have no other pictures and I don't have a scanner to scan a picture of the hilt from the Records. Windlass had a replica of it and called it transitional viking sword. It was very good stiff sword, very nice blade, only a bit point heavy,
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J.D. Crawford




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PostPosted: Sat 08 Aug, 2009 4:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here are some pictures of my Windlass 'Transitional Viking Sword'. It's got a PoB of 6.5" or 16.25CM, which is significantly closer to the hilt than the figure given for the original by Peter Lyon. And as he commented about the original, there is something about the mass distribution that makes it handle better than expected, both in the cut and thrust. They added a bit of flare to the blade at the guard and (probably) copied the collars on the handle from the Norwegian sword. Not an exact replica, but pretty good and an incredible buy if you can still find a good one. They stopped making them 2-3 years ago.

Del Tin also makes one. It's a bit heavier and the PoB a bit further out, but perhaps closer to the original.
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Michael Pikula
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PostPosted: Tue 11 Aug, 2009 7:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Adam S. wrote:
I'd like an opinion.

Does it look as if the pommel may have had wire work? There are two fairly pronounced pits near the base of the central lobe that look like they could have either been recesses for then ends of wire, or just deep pitting.



I can't remember where I got this image, but I believe it's from the Yorkshire Museum. Same as the first.

Thanks,
~Adam


I think the holes are actually pitting from where it corroded through.... I could be off though.
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Dave W.




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PostPosted: Wed 12 Aug, 2009 7:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sorry, a really lame question here, but is the shoulder of the blade (used in Peter's measurements) where the blade meets the cross guard or someplace else?
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Wed 12 Aug, 2009 7:23 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

David W. wrote:
Sorry, a really lame question here, but is the shoulder of the blade (used in Peter's measurements) where the blade meets the cross guard or someplace else?


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