View Full Version : A Reference to a Viking Age Folding Knife

Saturday, February 7th, 2009, 06:12 AM
Bone handled knife with a swiveling iron blade. The handle consists of two bone plates with a pair of iron rivets at either end. At one end, the blade pivots on one of the rivets whilst its pair acts as a stop for the indented blade (se drawing). The end of the blade that now projects is short with a steeply sloped back; its other end (as revealed by x-rays) is longer and more rounded.

The bone plates each have a central oblong field, defined by a plain border, which contains a medial-incised interlacing patern; the ends terminate in stylized animal-masks. The pattern on one side is a simple continuous interlace with the addition of two free rings, one on either side of a central complication in the form of a figure eight. In the upper part of the main interlace additional lines and dots create a row of animal heads in profile. On the other side, the central field is filled with a classic Borre-style ring-chain. L 10.3 cm.

Excavated bt the Canterbury Archaeological Trust in 1976 at 77-9 Castle Street. This type of swiveling-blade knife has recently been recognized at Winchester, Thetford and Northampton, in late Anglo-Saxon context, by Mr I. Goodall(1979,268, fig. 118.31) to whom I am grateful for the drawing based on the x-ray by Miss C. Sease. There do not appear to be any Scandinavian Viking Period parallels for this blade form, although folding knives were known (Birka I, pl.184). It is presumably a craft-tool, perhaps for bone/antler or leather working. The ornament of th ehandle is best paralleled on Anglo-Scandinavian sculpture in northern England in the MVP. Lit. Graham-Campbell 1978

Source: http://www.mathomhouse.com/regia/references/foldingknife.html