Info Favorites Register Log in
myArmoury.com Discussion Forums

Forum index Memberlist Usergroups Spotlight Topics Search
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Authentication of Excavated Condition European Swords Reply to topic
This is a standard topic  
Author Message
Tyler C.




Location: Canada
Joined: 20 Aug 2019
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 15

PostPosted: Tue 14 Jan, 2020 4:39 pm    Post subject: Authentication of Excavated Condition European Swords         Reply with quote

Hi There,

In the past few years I have seen a number of swords come up for sale in various locations that are in excavated condition. Every time I see a sword like this I am skeptical. Sometimes these blades are obvious poorly done fakes, but sometimes, the form, proportions, and assembly style appear to be authentic. Below are some examples from pictures that I have saved. Each of these to me appear like they could conceivably be authentic based on their form and constriction. Things that I find potentially suspect are the patina, and possibly the lack of grain that I would expect from a corroded item made from wrought iron (hilt parts), or steel from derived from bloomery iron. That being said, I have seen many authentic excavated swords with very similar patina, and a similar lack of visible grain. I have even personally polished and etched an ancient arrowhead with a very similar corrosion patter to these blades and found that it had a strong pattern and grain direction consistent with bloomery iron that was not visible prior. This leaves me with the question: How can items like these be authenticated? I would love to hear your thoughts.



 Attachment: 125.32 KB
[ Download ]

 Attachment: 151.3 KB
[ Download ]

 Attachment: 144.02 KB
[ Download ]

 Attachment: 169.07 KB
[ Download ]

 Attachment: 154.41 KB
[ Download ]

 Attachment: 136.29 KB
[ Download ]

 Attachment: 83.46 KB
[ Download ]

 Attachment: 164.6 KB
[ Download ]

 Attachment: 157.35 KB
[ Download ]
View user's profile Send private message
Tyler C.




Location: Canada
Joined: 20 Aug 2019
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 15

PostPosted: Tue 14 Jan, 2020 4:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Here are a few more example pictures.


 Attachment: 107.55 KB
IMG_1965.jpg


 Attachment: 73.33 KB
IMG_1966.jpg


 Attachment: 91.09 KB
IMG_1967.jpg


 Attachment: 49.33 KB
IMG_1968.jpg


 Attachment: 77.02 KB
IMG_1969.jpg


 Attachment: 207.76 KB
[ Download ]

 Attachment: 300.76 KB
[ Download ]
View user's profile Send private message
Chris Dayton




Location: Austin, TX
Joined: 29 Oct 2017

Posts: 46

PostPosted: Wed 15 Jan, 2020 5:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Great question, thanks for posting. I have several excavated condition pieces from the 1500s-1600s and have held off on earlier ones due to the staggering number of forgeries in the medieval and Viking arenas.

The one tip I have is what you've already mentioned about grain... relic-level pitting tends to bring out a "woodgrain" effect in hand-forged iron and steel that is so difficult to reproduce no one would bother on a typical forgery.* So if the grain is there, that's strong evidence of originality, but a lack of grain does not necessarily indicate the opposite.

I look forward to responses from the experts here!

*Source: E.B. Erickson and personal observations
View user's profile Send private message
Joe Maccarrone




Location: Seattle, WA USA
Joined: 19 Sep 2003

Posts: 171

PostPosted: Wed 15 Jan, 2020 9:24 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm hardly an expert, but I've been able to spot a few fakes (posted here on this site) through simple knowledge of the production sword market going back 30 years or so. If anyone has kept all the old Del Tin, MRL/Windlass, etc. catalogs going back decades, posting these on line would be a great resource to help identify fakes...
View user's profile Send private message
Tyler C.




Location: Canada
Joined: 20 Aug 2019
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 15

PostPosted: Wed 15 Jan, 2020 10:42 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Joe Maccarrone wrote:
I'm hardly an expert, but I've been able to spot a few fakes (posted here on this site) through simple knowledge of the production sword market going back 30 years or so. If anyone has kept all the old Del Tin, MRL/Windlass, etc. catalogs going back decades, posting these on line would be a great resource to help identify fakes...


Agreed. Having the old catalogs to refer to would be a great help in some cases. Checking these against a blade for sale could at least be an easy first check to make sure it's not simply a Del Tin that someone buried in their back yard for a few years.
View user's profile Send private message
Tyler C.




Location: Canada
Joined: 20 Aug 2019
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 15

PostPosted: Wed 15 Jan, 2020 12:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I dug up pictures of the ancient arrowhead that I referred to earlier. I think it is relevant, or at least may satisfy some curiosity. The first picture shows the item as I received it. The second shows it after I used a wire wheel to clean off any loose corrosion which should have revealed any gain exposed due to corrosion. The next four pictures show the arrowhead during grinding, after polishing, after surface etch, and after a deep etch. These pictures are a poor substitute for an in person look, or examination under microscope but hopefully they are of some use. Perhaps I will try to take some better pictures later to post.

I should also mention that I have a few ancient/medieval arrowheads (approximately 40 pcs.) all in excavated condition. I believe that all are authentic and only one of them shows the grain of the metal in the corroded surface texture. Many show corrosion surface textures very similar to those on the swords above. Of course the quality of metal used in arrowheads is not likely on par with that of swords, but I believe it is still somewhat relevant and interesting to note.



 Attachment: 32.16 KB
IMG_0130.JPG
Deep etch.

 Attachment: 30.3 KB
Etched.JPG
Surface etch.

 Attachment: 18.64 KB
Polished.JPG
Polished.

 Attachment: 31.16 KB
After Wire Wheel.JPG
After cleaning with a wire wheel.

 Attachment: 23.48 KB
Test Subjects.JPG
As found.
View user's profile Send private message
Dan Howard




Location: Maitland, NSW, Australia
Joined: 08 Dec 2004

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 3,392

PostPosted: Wed 15 Jan, 2020 1:34 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Authentic arrowheads are cheap to buy on the market. There is no money to be had by faking them. Most of the fakery with arrowheads comes by falsely stating that they came from a famous battlefield.
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen and Sword Books
View user's profile Send private message
Tyler C.




Location: Canada
Joined: 20 Aug 2019
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 15

PostPosted: Wed 15 Jan, 2020 2:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Dan Howard wrote:
Authentic arrowheads are cheap to buy on the market. There is no money to be had by faking them. Most of the fakery with arrowheads comes by falsely stating that they came from a famous battlefield.


Right you are! One of the reasons I like to pick them up here and there. They are fun and cheap.

Just to clarify, I'm not concerned about the authenticity of arrowheads. I posted those pictures because they are an example of an authentic item in excavated condition without grain showing in the corroded surface texture.
View user's profile Send private message
J.D. Crawford




Location: Toronto
Joined: 25 Dec 2006

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,750

PostPosted: Sat 18 Jan, 2020 2:19 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Speaking as an amateur enthusiast, I agree there's nothing obvious in the surface corrosion / patination that's clearly off. There might be some subtle flags in the form. In your first post the 2nd sword proportions look odd: the hilt looks typical 14th century but that short hexagonal blade with spade tip looks off, or modified historically. Then the geometry on the Brazil nut pommel seems crude compared to most historical examples. But again, I would consider those warning flags rather than hard evidence because there are also atypical historical swords.
View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Tyler C.




Location: Canada
Joined: 20 Aug 2019
Reading list: 2 books

Posts: 15

PostPosted: Tue 04 Feb, 2020 8:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I found a couple other threads that I had missed on my original search that have some excellent information. It appears that there has been a fair amount of discussion on similar swords, but there isn't really a solid answer to this question yet. I hope that this can spark a little more conversation and hopefully some good insight.

In this thread (see below) XRF was used to analyze the composition of the alloy. This seems like an excellent method to get some evidence for or against the authenticity of a blade in question. The biggest question I am left with is how will the patina/corrosion on the surface of the sample affect the readings? My guess would be that it has a huge effect. Rust is porous and if the blade was sitting in sulphur or phosphorus rich soil (i've heard that rapid rusting can be achieved by burying in highly fertilized soil) I imagine it would make the readings show high readings for these contaminants. Perhaps the answer is to polish a small section of the blade and then scan. Thoughts?
http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.36942.html

Below is another thread that talks about some swords similar to those that I have posted. There is some good information in this thread and there are a few tell tales that can be watched for. For me, one of the most interesting points was one made in a Peter Johnsson quote that the OP posted in his second post. In the quote Peter mentioned the thickness of the black patina (Fe3O4 I assume) noting that it was too thin to be a true antique blade. On the arrowhead that I polished above I was astonished by how thick the layer of black oxide was on this piece. I ground though a couple millimetres of black oxide before I got to bare steel. This has made me think that perhaps the thickness of the patina could be measured and used to authenticate an ancient blade. I wonder if coating thickness measurement tools could be used here. Thoughts anyone? Does anyone have counter examples of authentic excavated blades with thin black oxide layers?
http://myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.36810.html

Anyway, hopefully this thread becomes useful and brings some new techniques/thoughts/discussion together that can be helpful in authenticating ancient blades.
View user's profile Send private message


Display posts from previous:   
Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > Authentication of Excavated Condition European Swords
Page 1 of 1 Reply to topic
All times are GMT - 8 Hours

View previous topic :: View next topic
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum
You cannot attach files in this forum
You can download files in this forum






All contents © Copyright 2003-2020 myArmoury.com — All rights reserved
Discussion forums powered by phpBB © The phpBB Group
Switch to the Basic Low-bandwidth Version of the forum