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Farm owner - Rogaland Sword

Discovery of Rare Viking Sword Unearthed in Norway

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In the tranquil setting of Suldal, Norway, a remarkable piece of Viking history has come to light. While working on his family farm, Øyvind Tveitane Lovra unearthed a rare Viking sword. The find has sent ripples of excitement through Norway’s archaeological community, as it is potentially the first of its kind in Rogaland county. 

The sword was covered in clay and rust disguising its true nature. But with the help of X-ray photography, conservator Hege Hollund revealed the presence of inscriptions on the blade, explains a University of Stavanger report. This has led experts to believe it could be a high-quality Ulfberht sword, known for its superior craftsmanship in the Frankish Empire during the Viking Age. 

 This is probably the first such sword found in Rogaland.

This is probably the first such sword found in Rogaland. Conservator Hege Hollund has, with the help of X-ray photography, discovered the contours of inscriptions with a cross pattern and perhaps letters on the blade.  (Øyvind Nesvåg/Rogaland County Municipality) 

A Remarkable Find 

Lars Søgaard Sørensen, an archaeologist with 25 years of experience, was astonished at the discovery. He remarked: 

“The sword was the greatest status symbol in the Viking Age, and it was a privilege to be allowed to carry one.”  

His sentiment was echoed by his colleague Kim Thunheim, who noted the rarity of such finds in Rogaland. 

The archaeologists noted that the process of reporting and registering the find was exemplary, with Lovra promptly contacting the county council. Thunheim praised Lovra’s actions, highlighting the importance of such discoveries for enriching the historical narrative of the region. 

From Field to Fame 

Lovra told of his initial disbelief upon finding the sword. What he first thought was scrap metal turned out to be a significant historical artifact. The sword, measuring 37 centimeters (approximately 14.5 inches), is remarkably well-preserved, thanks to the dense clay in which it was buried. This environment protected it from the typical degradation seen in other regions of Norway. 

The discovery was made while Lovra was preparing a field for sowing grass, an area that had not been plowed for many years. It was a stroke of luck that brought this piece of history to light, as Lovra described the find as akin to “finding a needle in a haystack.” 

 X-ray image of the sword found in Suldal.

X-ray image of the sword found in Suldal. (Archaeological Museum/University of Stavanger) 

Insights from X-ray Analysis 

The excitement peaked when X-ray images of the sword revealed detailed inscriptions. These inscriptions, including a cross pattern and possibly letters, suggest the sword could be one of the esteemed Ulfberht swords. These swords, produced between 900 and 1050 AD, were renowned for their quality and were often inscribed with the name of the weapon manufacturer. 

Sigmund Oehrl, a professor of archaeology at the University of Stavanger, explained that the Ulfberht swords are rare, with only around 170 known examples in Europe. Norway itself has only about 45 such swords, making this find exceptionally rare and valuable. 


Connecting to the Past 

Lovra speculates that the sword might have belonged to a Viking chief who sailed into the Lovrafjord, possibly related to his own ancestors. This personal connection adds a layer of intrigue and pride to the discovery, as it ties modern inhabitants to their Viking forebears. 

The journey of the sword from its resting place in a Norwegian field to a focal point of academic study underscores the importance of preserving and studying such artifacts. The next steps involve meticulous preservation and further examination to date the sword more precisely and decode the inscriptions. 

Top image: Farm owner Øyvind Tveitane Lovra with the Ulfberht sword he discovered on his land in Rogaland. Source: Rogaland County Municipality 

Gary Manners's picture


Gary is an editor and content manager for Ancient Origins. He has a BA in Politics and Philosophy from the University of York and a Diploma in Marketing from CIM. He has worked in education, the educational sector, social work... Read More

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