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Felix Kunze

Location: Bonn, Germany
Joined: 28 Feb 2007

Posts: 49

PostPosted: Sat 05 Mar, 2011 1:16 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The requested sword with similar grip of horsehair and lether comes from Burial mound 1 in Boe, province of Nordland in Norway. It is a spatha blade of the type Straubing-Nydam, the exact type can not determined, because large parts of the scabbard are still fixed to the blade. Overall length is 93,0 cm, blade length ca. 76,2 cm. Width of blade (including the scabbard) ist 5,2-5,5 cm, tang measures 16,8 cm. The blade seems to be broken. The grip was made from glued, bundled horsehair that had the ends fixed with round rings over the ends and five narrow bronze rings in between. Grip length is 9,5 cm with 3,6 cm diameter.
The crosspiece is made of horsehair, iron and bronze, pressed oval ona round thin iron disc. Width: 6,7 cm, height about 2,2 cm. Corroded to the sword was the wooden scabbard, the shieldboards found in the grave still had red paint on one and blue on the reverse side.
The sword is dated to the beginning of the 3rd century and housed in the Museum of Tromsoe (5401:I)
Lit: of course the book of Ch. Miks, mentioned before, p. 167 and 547
J. Ilkjaer, Illerup Adal 1. Lanzen und Speere. Jutland Archaeological Society Publications 25;1 (Aarhus 1990).
Sjoevold, The iron age settlement of arctic Norway. A study in the expansion of European iron age culture within the arctic circle. 1. Early Iron Age (Roman and migration periods). Tromsoe Museums Skrifter 10,1 (Tromsoe-Oslo 1962).

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Stephen Curtin

Location: Cork, Ireland
Joined: 17 Nov 2007
Likes: 110 pages
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Posts: 1,205

PostPosted: Sun 06 Mar, 2011 2:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Felix that was very helpful. So this other sword was from Norway, and as the finds from Illerup Adal are speculated to be from Norway aswell, maybe this is an example of a piece from the same people? Maybe this hilt type was originated in Norway? I have never heard of horse hair being used as a material for a hilt, I wonder how durable it would have been?
Éirinn go Brách
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K J Seago

Location: Suffolk, England
Joined: 12 Feb 2009
Likes: 1 page

Posts: 95

PostPosted: Mon 07 Mar, 2011 12:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

this really is rivetting stuff, would love to hear more about this horse hair (micarta?) hilt if anyone could produce a sketch to show the spatha in original (new) state that would be great, still cant get my head around the construction yet though!

Its great to hear other people looking into this as well as me, it seemed for years a hushed up topic! i'm VERY SLOWLY constructing my own composite hilt and its always great to see other examples and hypothesies? of these once extremely pretty and dangerous objects of status.

just another student of an interesting subject, Happy
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