NMS


 

Record

Mount and whetstone

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from Balnakeil, Durness, Sutherland and Cnip, Valtos, Uig, Lewis, Outer Hebrides

Mount and whetstone
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This picture shows a bronze mount found in a Viking boy's grave at Balnakeil near Durness in Sutherland in 1991, and a whetstone found in a woman's grave at Cnip at Valtos at Uig, on Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. The graves date between 850 and 925.

No stone survived in the Balnakeil burial, but the object has been interpreted as a capping for a whetstone, based on a few similar examples from England and Wales. It is pierced, perhaps to fasten in the hole of a whetstone such as that found at Cnip.

Whetstones were indispensable to Viking men and women, as they were used to sharpen tools and weapons. They occur in a number of shapes and sizes in both male and female graves. Some, like this one, could have hung from a belt.

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