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The mysterious Ulfberht swords

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posted on Nov, 30 2014 @ 03:00 AM
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The steel in a common Norse Viking swords were nothing special compared to other parts of Europe at the time. But recent analysis of Norse Viking swords marked with the text "Ulfberht" are remarkable; the steel in these swords is so pure that it would take the rest of Europe another 800 years to match the same steel quality.

Ulfberht steel had fewer inpurities compared to contemporary steel and a much higher carbon content.

Where did this technology come from? The Ulfberht is an impossible artifact for the time, but yet again we have the proof that people in the Early Middle Ages where a lot more technological advanced than our history books tell us.

Close-up photo of a real Ulfberht sword.

The Ulfberht was most likely a sword for the Norse Viking elite and not the common man, and only 171 Ulfberht swords have been found in Norse burial grounds and in lakes to this day. The Ulfberht steel production method was probably kept secret by a few blacksmiths to prevent this amazing technology falling into the hands of their enemies.



-MM

edit on 30-11-2014 by MerkabaMeditation because: (no reason given)

edit on 30-11-2014 by MerkabaMeditation because: (no reason given)




posted on Nov, 30 2014 @ 03:16 AM
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I remember seeing a NOVA documentary about these swords, very advanced for there time and were only made for a relitivly short period of time. Then it seems the knowledge of how to create the refined steel was lost and not rediscovered for hundreds of years. I think there were even rumors of the metal used to make them having come from a meteor.



posted on Nov, 30 2014 @ 03:22 AM
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Cool first time I hear of them so I Google it and it seems it was the nike of the time


Some Viking swords were among the best ever made, still fearsome weapons after a millennium. The legendary swords found at Viking sites across northern Europe bear the maker's name, Ulfberht, in raised letters at the hilt end. Puzzlingly, so do the worst ones, found in fragments on battle sites or in graves.

The Vikings would have found it impossible to tell the difference when they bought a newly forged sword: both would have looked identical, and had razor sharp blades. The difference would have only emerged in use, often fatally.

Williams began to test the Ulfberht blades when a private collector brought one into the Wallace, and found they varied wildly. The tests at the NPL have proved that the inferior swords were forged in northern Europe from locally worked iron. But the genuine ones were made from ingots of crucible steel, which the Vikings brought back from furnaces thousands of miles away in modern Afghanistan and Iran. The tests at Teddington proved the genuine Ulfberht swords had a phenomenally high carbon content, three times that of the fakes, and half again that of modern carbon steel.


They made Chinese knockoff back them too


1,000 years on, perils of fake Viking swords are revealed



posted on Nov, 30 2014 @ 08:09 AM
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Im 99% positive they figured out they came from France, the empire. The one documentary showed that there were knockoffs made locally, some with the name spelled wrong, and inferior material. There are even references to Frankish weapons in the eddas.



posted on Nov, 30 2014 @ 08:14 AM
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a reply to: MerkabaMeditation

Cool thread, i thought that they had maybe encountered Wootz Steel via trade links. I did a thread today on a Norse smithing kit today in ancient civs, there is a pdf linked there with metallurgical analysis at the end which you may find interesting.



posted on Nov, 30 2014 @ 08:55 AM
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The Open University used to have lectures on steel production. All the factors that influenced the manufacture of steel included percentages of impurities (sulphur, heavy metals), percentage of carbon, cooling time for crystals to grow and interlock. Fast cooling produced small crystal grains, slow cooling produced larger crystals grains. To produce engine blocks they would let the metal cool down over days, so that it essentially was one crystal.

The makers would have known about the cooling process, and also that different regions would have steel of different strengths due to the natural impurities. Perhaps they could have worked out a world map of where to obtain the best steel.



posted on Nov, 30 2014 @ 09:43 AM
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a reply to: skalla
Skallla,
This wootz steel dagglpxr 16th cent India, is on display at one of the Smithsonian galleries in Washington dc.



The photo doesn't do it justice.



posted on Nov, 30 2014 @ 10:26 AM
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a reply to: punkinworks10

It's figging outstanding in the photo, so wow!

I'd love to see what an Ulfbehrt looked like prior to a thousand years underground.... i've seen plenty of pattern welds and damascus etc, but i'd really like to know for certain.



posted on Nov, 30 2014 @ 02:35 PM
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a reply to: skalla

In the documentary a modern blacksmith makes one using a type of furnace found in the middle east at the period, he supposedly comes quite close, I was espessially impressed with the inlay text he made.

-MM



posted on Nov, 30 2014 @ 02:45 PM
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a reply to: MerkabaMeditation

It's my lad's bedtime in 10 mins or so, i plan to watch it then



posted on Nov, 30 2014 @ 02:57 PM
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The Norse had close connections with the Byzantine empire, often taking positions as mercenaries, as such they would have had access to all the trade goods of the east to include high quality iron.

The Varangian Guard was made up of northern Europeans and many Norse. The Norse got there by way of the Russian river network. The unit existed from the 10-14th century.



posted on Nov, 30 2014 @ 04:04 PM
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a reply to: Hanslune

That is one of the theories in the documentary, that the Vikings traded furs for steel - the Norse steel is similar to Damaskus Steel but not identical and have slightly different properties.

-MM

edit on 30-11-2014 by MerkabaMeditation because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 30 2014 @ 04:56 PM
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Well i'm only half way through the doc but wanted to reply now in case something got in the way of me doing it later - it's a great documentary so far and not many are up to this standard any more, many thanks for posting it


Good to see it was likely crucible steel from Iran, i wasn't too far off at least


ETA: There really is very little that a man with a proper beard cannot achieve.
edit on 30-11-2014 by skalla because: (no reason given)



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