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02.12.2021

Iron seax

Cultures/periods:

Late Anglo-Saxon

Production date:

10thC

Excavated/Findspot: 

Europe: British Isles: England: Thames, River

Materials:

iron; silver; copper alloy; copper

An iron seax, with a straight cutting edge running parallel to the back, which is angled toward the point. The broad shank is offset relative to the blade, which is decorated on both sides with a linear ornament formed by hammering a polychrome wire into the metal surface. Along the back of the blade on each side runs a narrow rectangular panel bordered by two lines composed of strips of twisted copper and brass wire. Below this panel and parallel to it runs a deep median groove, flanked by a similar inlaid line with suspended brass triangles. Two texts are inscribed on one side of the rectangular panel. They are separated by a herringbone pattern of silver and brass and a fragment of a running lozenge pattern of silver and copper as well as silver and brass twisted wire, with each lozenge pattern containing a copper or silver blank. The first inscription is twenty-eight letters of the "futork" or runic alphabet. The second inscription, also in runic alphabet, represents the Old English personal name, presumably of the owner or maker of the seax. The other side of the panel is filled with a running lozenge pattern, similar to the pattern on the obverse, but the lozenge patterns contain only silver blanks, and the triangular fields between each lozenge pattern have a copper triangle facing inward. The spine of the sea devil is inlaid with nine groups of short transverse lines of silver and brass twisted wire. At the end of the panel, where it tapers to the tip, there is a vertical cut, behind which part of the decoration is missing, but a dashed dowel for the inlay is preserved.

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