You never know what you might find on a hike. One hiker on a fishing trip in central Norway sat down to rest when he noticed what looked like an old iron sword.
Turns out he found a 1,200-year-old Viking sword likely belonging to a wealthy person around 750 AD. Outdoorsman Goran Olsen was fishing in Haukeli, an area known for hunting and fishing located about 150 miles west of Oslo. Archeologists who examined the sword said that it was a rare find.
“It’s quite unusual to find remnants from the Viking age that are so well-preserved … it might be used today if you sharpened the edge,” County Conservator Per Morten told CNN.
The weapon was apparently lying under some rocks on a high mountain plateau that’s part of a popular pass connecting western and eastern Norway. Once the snow melts in the spring, researchers are planning to return to the site and see what else they can find.
In the Viking era, the high cost of extracting iron meant that swords like these were status symbols and likely belonged to a wealthy person. The sword, which was found missing its handle, measures 30 inches long and is made of rot iron.
One archeologist who examined the sword said with a new grip and some polish it could likely be used today. For now, the sword was handed over to the University Museum of Bergen for study and preservation.
“The sword was found in very good condition,” archeologist Jostein Aksdal told The Local. “It is very special to get into a sword that is merely lacking its grip,” he said.
Photo credit: Bjarte Brask Eriksen, Hordaland County Council