It is not uncommon for me to find artifacts from the pre-National Park logging days in the Smokies. Steel cables eroding from hillsides, a railroad rail or two. Sometimes I find stone fence-lines marking old property boundaries in the woods. In other words, all stuff that is less than 150 years old.
A hiker in Norway took a break from his cross-country trek, and sat down next to a 1200 year-old, incredibly well preserved Viking sword.
Some time near AD750, someone left a Viking sword along a mountain plateau in southern Norway. On a late October day more than 1,250 years later, a hiker named Goran Olsen picked it up.
The Hordaland County council announced this week that the hiker had discovered the sword in surprisingly pristine condition among the rocks of an old road in Haukeli, as he stopped to rest along an old road through the region’s mountains and valleys.
“It’s quite unusual to find remnants from the Viking age that are so well-preserved,” county conservator Per Morten Ekerhovd told CNN. “It might be used today if you sharpened the edge,” he added…”
“…Wrought-iron arms and armor were expensive, and the sword’s owner was probably wealthier or more influential than the average Viking, Professor Alexandra Sanmark, a Viking expert at the University of the Highlands and Islands in Scotland, said.
“Generally if you had a sword, that tends to be a very high-status item,” she said.
“The common idea about Vikings was that they wore big, metal helmets, but they probably wore leather helmets. The metal would’ve gone into making these fabulous weapons, which have more like steel, it’s really high quality.”
The Guardian piece goes into much more detail and is the best article I have found on the discovery. Lots of background on the Viking culture. Check it out.