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Johan Gemvik




Location: Stockholm, Sweden
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PostPosted: Fri 03 Jun, 2011 7:11 am    Post subject: Anybody have the book "Die saxe von valsgärde"         Reply with quote

I'll probably end up going to the state library to look for this as they should have it being a swedish author and all, but I was just wondering if anyone knew how to get hold of the book "Die saxe von valsgärde" by Pär Olsen.

I'm working on a new large Seax and wanted to get everything just right, particularly I wanted to use a wood core scabbard as seen in several of the Valsgärde finds, not the all leather ones that seems to been used mainly for the small utility seax knives. Every time I read a publication on the subject this book pops up as a major reference and I can't see it being sold or available scanned as pdf anywhere and it seems out of print since way back.

Shouldn't this book be re-printed or better yet translated and updated for the current decade? I imagine it would be a very interesting read for most of us. Especially now that they're excavating the site at the Uppsala mounds again.

Has anyone here read it? Is it dated? Does it have scabbard and blade details? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

"The Dwarf sees farther than the Giant when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on" -Coleridge
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Johan Gemvik




Location: Stockholm, Sweden
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PostPosted: Mon 06 Jun, 2011 4:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I got the photos and sketches from the book now, courtesy of a helpful samaritan. Wink
Still missing the 100 pages of text, but it's a great start.

I wish I could just buy the book, but in english or swedish. They really should translate and re-print this book seeing as German which was the main language for scientific papers and books back inthe 40s has long been supplanted by english as the common international language in the west.
Actually, I'll send a letter to the original printers and see what they say.

"The Dwarf sees farther than the Giant when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on" -Coleridge
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E. Storesund





Joined: 10 Jan 2011

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PostPosted: Mon 06 Jun, 2011 10:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I agree on the last bit there.
There are literally tons of these very influential and great books that seem to be only (somewhat readily at least) available in German. Luckily I understand a little bit, but I can't help but feel it's not really enough. I guess I'll just have to improve my language.

Never heard of the book before now, but I would be very interested in learning more about it.
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Johan Gemvik




Location: Stockholm, Sweden
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PostPosted: Tue 07 Jun, 2011 8:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It really is a shame.
I'm going to contact Almqvist & Wiksells that first printed the book and see if they'd be interested in translating and reprinting their old books. Perhaps we should make a poll or something about a number of their books we want to see translated. I think they were the company printing the Greta Arwidsson works regarding Valsgärde also but I'll have to check. Some of these were available in swedish at least, which I realise still won't help most here ayway, but they're also still well out of print by 30-40 years so I can't get them eiither.

"The Dwarf sees farther than the Giant when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on" -Coleridge
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Johan Gemvik




Location: Stockholm, Sweden
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PostPosted: Fri 17 Jun, 2011 6:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ah! Not only do I have the photos already, I've now borrowed the book from the state library.

My spoken german is very poor, but I find I can actually read it decently as a swede. This is a great defining work about seaxes with a treasure trove of information. Photos, sketches,dimensions of the finds, details on the scabbard construction, possible origins of designs, similarities in other cultures and so on.
Seems a great waste it's not available for all in engish.

Maybe something can be done about that...

"The Dwarf sees farther than the Giant when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on" -Coleridge
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Fri 17 Jun, 2011 6:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I can't read nor speak German so I'm quite envious of your ability to understand such texts. I'm missing out on so much!
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Paul Hansen




Location: The Netherlands
Joined: 17 Mar 2005
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PostPosted: Sat 18 Jun, 2011 7:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Johan Gemvik wrote:
German which was the main language for scientific papers and books back inthe 40s has long been supplanted by english as the common international language in the west.


It seems to me that German is still the main language for archeology related to Germanic topics... Look at all the work that is available on migration age swords: 90% of it is in German...

Nathan, I'd say that as an English native speaker, learning German (or Dutch) should not be too difficult. Actually, the nice thing about English is that it's a mixture of French and Anglo-Saxon. Therefore it's directly related to most European languages and easy to learn both ways.
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Johan Gemvik




Location: Stockholm, Sweden
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PostPosted: Sun 19 Jun, 2011 4:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here Nathan,
I'll rough translate a short piece from the book with babelfish and fix some errors. Note that my German is sketchy at best though. I really should get my dad to translat the whole book for me, he actually speaks it.

"Valsgärde grave 5 Hands equipment, the following are the more impressive weapons:
Sword, 2 seaxes, ango, arrows; Helmet, 3 shields. The seaxes are seen in image 101, placed to the left, to both sides of the sword, shown in image where the skeleton had decomposed (it had disappeared nearly completely here as in the remaining graves of valsgärde)."

Can I post photos from a book as old as this? I don't know so I won't at least for now. But photo 101 shows the grave site with the swords and skeleton in situ.

"The Dwarf sees farther than the Giant when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on" -Coleridge
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Johan Gemvik




Location: Stockholm, Sweden
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PostPosted: Wed 22 Jun, 2011 9:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've now found out the copyright of the work belongs to the Uppsala universitets museum för nordiska fornsaker.
Rough english translation would be the Uppsala univerity Museum of ancient nordic finds. I'll contact the university to see if they may have the work available in other languages, if it can be re-printed and if not then perhaps they could allow me to translate and distribute it electronically. We'll see.

Anyway, I think it's good news at least that the copyright is by a university/ museum rather than a private company.

"The Dwarf sees farther than the Giant when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on" -Coleridge
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Johan Gemvik




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PostPosted: Tue 28 Jun, 2011 2:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I was doing a few sketches for construction trying to get my head around the finds shown in the Valsgärde book last night.

The finds shows the following:
-The valsgärde and Bjärs blades are of a trianglar wedgelike cross section
-The back of the blade side has plating strips along the front side, along the back side and a third one that is the thickness of the scabbard. These are obviously one single plate bent over and nailed to the scabbard wood.
-The edge side of the scabbard has the same plating but with a thin bent over strip, with slots in it for the fastenng ring loops.

I couldn't figure this out until I drew a diagram and it became obvious that the scabbard is also wedge shaped. Some have a slight rounding over the front, some are even teardrop shaped in cross section, and most are just flat faced. But none are really box shaped as I first thought.
I'll show some pictures of finds as well as a diagram I made of the scabbard cross section.

"The Dwarf sees farther than the Giant when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on" -Coleridge
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Johan Gemvik




Location: Stockholm, Sweden
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PostPosted: Tue 28 Jun, 2011 2:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Another much more recent book on the same subject is this one:

"Viking-age seaxes in Uppland and Västmanland : craft production and eastern connections" by Niklas Stjerna, 2007.

Before going to extreme lengths to translate and get the old Valsgärde book re-printed, I should get a copy of this one because it may most likley already cover the same material and also include new scientific updates.

"The Dwarf sees farther than the Giant when he has the giant's shoulder to mount on" -Coleridge
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E. Storesund





Joined: 10 Jan 2011

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PostPosted: Tue 28 Jun, 2011 2:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Johan Gemvik wrote:

I'll show some pictures of finds as well as a diagram I made of the scabbard cross section.


Interesting, please do!
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