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from Balnakeil, Durness, Sutherland

Postcard of Sword.
© National Museums Scotland


This iron sword was found in a Viking boy's burial at Balnakeil near Durness in Sutherland in 1991. He was buried with adult weapons and various objects on a bedding of feathers and straw, sometime between 850 and 900.

The sword survives in three main fragments. When buried, it already was missing its tip. Remains of wood in the corrosion show that that the sword was buried in a wooden scabbard. Unusually, remains of a leather binding secured with thread survived on the grip.

Because it was not cleaned on discovery, scientists have been able to discover a great deal about this sword. In particular, x-rays have revealed much information about the wooden scabbard and the grip on the hilt.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-000-099-767-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0036: Kiloran Bay Viking Burial (multimedia essay)
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.IL 921
Date: Between 850 and 900
What: Grave goods
Who: Viking
Where: Scotland, Sutherland, Balnakeil (Viking burial)
Description: Assemblage of grave goods from a Viking burial at Balnakeil, Sutherland
  • Graham-Campbell, James and Batey, Colleen E. Vikings in Scotland. An Archaeological Survey. Edinburgh: University Press, 1998, pp 140-2. 
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