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Scott Woodruff





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PostPosted: Sat 07 Apr, 2012 11:18 pm    Post subject: Nydam Mose and other bog scabbards.         Reply with quote

I am curious about exactly how the Nydam Mose scabbards and mounts were constructed. I have seen lots of pics showing the decoration on the front of the locket reinforcing the mouth, but no pics of the backs or sides of the lockets or descriptions of how they were constructed(cast in one piece, sheet with brazed seam on back or side, multiple sheets brazed together, guilded, forged iron?). Also, how were the chappes formed? How were the scabbards suspended? I don't see any fittings on the Nydam scabbards aside from the locket and chappe. Is there any evidence of leather coverings or fleece linings? And what about the mounts on the fronts of the Kragehul scabbards to which the baldric hooks are attached? Were these just thin hammered sheet or were they thicker and more 3-dimensional and possibly cast? Are there any remains of simpler, all-organic scabbards from the bogs or are they all of the flashy bling type? Any help with any of these questions would be greatly appreciated. I hope it does not seem like I am being too lazy to do my own research, I have done considerable research but most info I can find is about the hilts and blades. Someday I hope to make a pilgrimage across the pond so I can see firsthand, but until then I must depend on the help of my fellow myArmoury forumnites. Thank you.
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Matthew Bunker




Location: Somerset UK
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PostPosted: Tue 10 Apr, 2012 1:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Scott,
It's a big subject, worthy of a book in it's own right. If you've not seen them, I can scan the pages from Engelhardt's 19th century books on the bog finds and some more recent stuff (and, of course, I've got pics of a number of these scabbard types in my photobucket albums).

However, to give you some brief answers specfic to Nydam scabbards.
http://s418.photobucket.com/albums/pp263/medi...?start=all

There are some relatively plain fittings (wooden or bone slides/bridges) but even those are found in conjunction with copper alloy chapes and mouthbands.
I don't think any leather or hide covers have survived but it's theorised that they would have been very, very thin as the metal fittings are all tight to the wood (although who knows what 1500 years in the bog have done to the dimensions of the wood). As some scabbards featured very comlex and intricate carvings on the face of the scabbard, these may have been covered in a sheet of fine, translucent parchement like skin.
<edit> Just checked and one of the decorated Nydam scabbards does have remains of it's thin skin cover (moulded over the carving) at the chape end. <edit>

I don't think I've read anything about fleece or fur linings, but then I've only got the reports in German and Danish and I must confess to not having waded through them with the appropriate dictionaries.

So, a brief outline of the specific elements:-

Mouthbands.
Copper alloy. Either cast in one piece or cast as a strip, decorated with punch work and then folded around the scabbard and rivetted closed at the back.

Chapes
As above. More complex examples may have been cast in two pieces and brazed together, others were cast in one piece and very simple, u-shaped chapes were forged to shape, sometimes with lateral bands rivetted across to add strength.

Suspensions. Some scabbards featured wooden slides/bridges that were either fixed to the face of the scabbard or, in some cases, carved directly into the scabbard itself.
Most feature copper alloy suspension systems. Sliders/bridges are the norm and vary hugely in complexity.
Some are just strips of copper aloy, decorated with punch work, bent to create the bridge and then nailed into place.
Some are highly decorative castings, again nailed to the front.
Some are part of more complex arrangements which are pinned into metal strips fixed to the edges of the scabbard.
All of the above are for baldric/waistbelt suspension.

The more complex form which uses the ring suspensions (which turn up in Nydam as well as Kragehul) are made up of a number of elements and vary in complexity. All feature a decorative front panel, which is cast copper alloy. Sometimes this casting goes all the way around the scabbard and the bands that carry the rings are brazed or rivetted onto it.
In other examples, the front piece is one casting and there is a band or bands rivetted to this which pass around the back of the scabbard, with the rings captured in a loop created in one of these bands.
You can see specific examples of this form here:-
http://i418.photobucket.com/albums/pp263/medi...010088.jpg
http://i418.photobucket.com/albums/pp263/medi...010128.jpg

Hope that's useful. If I can help with any more info, let me know.

"If a Greek can do it, two Englishman certainly can !"
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Kai Lawson




Location: Madison, WI
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PostPosted: Wed 11 Apr, 2012 8:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have a question about the chaps (chappes?): how exactly were they nailed/riveted on? were the rivets very short to not penetrate into the scabbard interior, or were they somehow installed before the scabbard was closed, and then peened over? I realize it may be a stupid question, but I am looking to make a scabbard myself, and haven't been able to wrap my brain around how one rivets a chap on
"And they crossed swords."
--William Goldman, alias S. Morgenstern
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Matthew Bunker




Location: Somerset UK
Joined: 02 Apr 2009

Posts: 483

PostPosted: Wed 11 Apr, 2012 12:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Kai Lawson wrote:
I have a question about the chaps (chappes?): how exactly were they nailed/riveted on? were the rivets very short to not penetrate into the scabbard interior, or were they somehow installed before the scabbard was closed, and then peened over? I realize it may be a stupid question, but I am looking to make a scabbard myself, and haven't been able to wrap my brain around how one rivets a chap on



Some examples here for you to look at Kai.


http://i418.photobucket.com/albums/pp263/medi...um/040.jpg

http://i418.photobucket.com/albums/pp263/medi...010121.jpg


The chapes were fixed in one of two ways.
a) Those that were long strips of u-shaped channel were usually pinned all the way through the edge of the scabbard (through solid wood) from front to back, through one or both layers of the chape itself.
b)Others were fixed with short nails. The nails were driven in to the face of the scabbard, either with the blade in situ or some other metal bar to act as an anvil and they bent over inside the wood, clenching the chape into place.

The same methods were used for fixing the edge reinforcements and, sometimes, the slides/bridges.

A more unusual third method can be seen in two examples from Ejsbol (8941 and 10976). These feature highly decorated plates that sit on the front of the scabbard with a clip on either side that wraps around the edges and back of the scabbard.

"If a Greek can do it, two Englishman certainly can !"
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Kai Lawson




Location: Madison, WI
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PostPosted: Wed 11 Apr, 2012 12:33 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mr. Matthew Bunker:

Many thanks for the detailed pictures and the explanation. Both are quite helpful, and I appreciate your patience.

"And they crossed swords."
--William Goldman, alias S. Morgenstern
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Matthew Bunker




Location: Somerset UK
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PostPosted: Wed 11 Apr, 2012 12:36 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Always happy to help anyone with an interest in scabbards from this period.
"If a Greek can do it, two Englishman certainly can !"
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Scott Woodruff





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PostPosted: Wed 11 Apr, 2012 6:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you very much Mathew, I now have plenty of info on which to preceed. It is amazing the variety of construction and decoration.
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Andy Ternay




Location: Dallas
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PostPosted: Mon 17 Dec, 2012 6:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hoping to reach Mr. Mathew Bunker (or anyone else who can assist) with this question - how did the baldric hooks actually attach to the baldric? What I am referring to can be seen in the linked picture:

http://s418.beta.photobucket.com/user/medicus...3&o=23
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Matthew Bunker




Location: Somerset UK
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PostPosted: Mon 17 Dec, 2012 8:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If you look closely at the upper 'hook' in the larger picture, you'll see that it's not a hook at all, its simply a mount which folds around the suspension ring.
There is a back side visible with a rivet hole in the bottom.



 Attachment: 24.39 KB
detail.jpg


"If a Greek can do it, two Englishman certainly can !"
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Andy Ternay




Location: Dallas
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PostPosted: Tue 18 Dec, 2012 4:48 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew, i am sorry to be dense here... are you saying that when mounted the "hook" is bent around the suspension ring creating a loop that holds it in place?

Thanks for addressing my question.

"Precious swords...since there for a thousand winters they had rested in the earth's embrace." ~ Beowulf 3048 - 50
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Matthew Bunker




Location: Somerset UK
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PostPosted: Tue 18 Dec, 2012 10:44 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

No. Look closely at the photo.
The very tip of the arrow rests on a rectangular piece of metal, just below a rivet hole?
That is one end of a long piece of metal which passes through the ring mounted on the side of the scabbard, the other end is the bifurcated 'hook' end. It's all one piece which the end of the strap slides into. Then it's rivetted into place. The rivets are very hard to see but you can just make out two on the t-piece of the lower mount and one between the arms of the hook on the upper.
So, the 'hooks' are purely decorative, the don't go in or through anything.

These sketches of similar mounts from Engelhardt should make the general idea of wehat I'm trying to explain much clearer.



 Attachment: 111.3 KB
engscab1.jpg


 Attachment: 66.7 KB
engscab2.jpg


"If a Greek can do it, two Englishman certainly can !"
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Matthew Bunker




Location: Somerset UK
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PostPosted: Tue 18 Dec, 2012 10:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

BTW, you can download a single volume abridged English translation of Engelhardt's three volume work on the Danish bog excavations here, with lots of line drawings of finds:-

http://archive.org/stream/denmarkinearlyir00e...0/mode/2up

"If a Greek can do it, two Englishman certainly can !"
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Andy Ternay




Location: Dallas
Joined: 21 Feb 2009
Reading list: 10 books

Posts: 51

PostPosted: Tue 18 Dec, 2012 3:31 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
So, the 'hooks' are purely decorative, the don't go in or through anything.


Ok, thank you! I get it now; I am trying to attach things where there is no attachment being made! Thank you!

Quote:
BTW, you can download a single volume abridged English translation of Engelhardt's three volume work on the Danish bog excavations here, with lots of line drawings of finds:-


Thank you very much!

"Precious swords...since there for a thousand winters they had rested in the earth's embrace." ~ Beowulf 3048 - 50
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