X-ray, of sword (detail)

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from Kiloran Bay, Colonsay, Inner Hebrides

Postcard of X-ray, of sword (detail).
© National Museums Scotland

X-ray, of sword (detail)

This picture shows an x-ray of the sword hilt found in a man's grave at Kiloran Bay on Colonsay in the Inner Hebrides. He was buried in a boat between 875 and 925 with a range of Scandinavian weapons, tools and a pin.

The sword is fragmentary and in very poor condition. However, the x-ray clearly shows that it originally had a pattern of twisted silver wires in a chequer-board pattern on its hilt.

Warriors were important people in Viking society. They could show off status by the quantity and quality of their weapons. A sword such as this one belonged to a wealthy man able to decorate its hilt with precious metal.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-180-001-441-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0504: National Museums Scotland Part 2
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.IL 759
Date: 9th century
Date of original: between 875 and 925
Material: Iron; in seven main pieces
What: Sword / pan / fragment
Where: Scotland, Argyll, Colonsay, Kiloran Bay
Description: Iron sword in seven main pieces, and fragment of handled pan, from a Viking grave found at Kiloran Bay, Colonsay, Argyll, 9th century
  • Graham-Campbell, James and Batey, Colleen E. Vikings in Scotland. An Archaeological Survey. Edinburgh: University Press, 1998, pp 118-22. 
  • Grieg, Sigurd. Viking Antiquities in Scotland (=Viking Antiquities in Great Britain and Ireland, Part II, ed. by Haakon Shetelig). Oslo: H. Aschehoug & Co., 1940, pp 48-61, esp. p 46. 
  • Ritchie, Anna. Viking Scotland London: B.T. Batsford Ltd/Historic Scotland, 1993, pp 79-84.
    Find in NLS: Title, Author, Title+Author or British Library: Title, Author, Title+Author
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