Monday, March 02, 2009

Ulfberht swords

Darrell Markewitz over at Hammered Out Bits tells the story that I never heard before -- about the most well-known Frankish metalworking establishment and the swords that it produced over the generations:

One of the oddities of history is that we know the name of a single swordmaker, most likely living near modern day Solingen on the Middle Rhine, in the mid 800's. These excellent quality blades are inlaid with that maker's name, with the earliest found dated to about 850. There are a huge number known with deposit dates spanning more that one mans life time (the latest is deposited about 1100). The raw number of surviving samples and the spread of dates suggests production in a 'workshop' spanning several generations... Ulfberht swords all have that makers name inlaid into the blade.

But that's not all...see what Darrell was inspired to do next. It's a serious re-enacter's treat.

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Need something to read?

Been abandoned by your regular bloggers?

I've saved up two posts I liked just for this occasion.

The first is Karl Steel posting his final exam for an undergraduate course in medieval romance literature. I am fascinated by the format and wonder if I should revisit what I habitually do. My students, past and present, are welcome to chime in on this issue.

Then there is a "material culture" contribution from Darrell Markewitz on "How widespread were blacksmithing skills in the Viking Age?" Lots of fun in the grubby details.

Image: "Viking Smith," a photo by Wolfgang Arnold.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Iron age technology on the web

Darrell Markewitz has been experimenting with Iron Age technology for at least 30 years now. I've covered some of this projects here and it occurred to me recently that I should point my readers to his blog, Hammered Out Bits. it's a real "log" of projects in process and ideas and problems that come up during those projects. I am sure, for instance, that some of you will be interested in hearing what he has to say about working meteoric iron. If you really get interested, don't stop at Hammered Out Bits, but go on to the Wareham Forge site.

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