Ancient Viking warrior blade unearthed by Icelandic goose hunters (PHOTOS)
The group of hunters fortuitously stumbled upon the weapon in Skaftárhreppur, south Iceland, a region badly hit by floods last year.
Pictures of the Viking weapon of war - a double edged sword - show it to be in remarkably good condition, save for the tip which has broken off.
The sword is slightly curved at the point and due to years of exposure the metal blade has partially corroded. But despite years out in the open, splinters of wood can still be observed around the handle.
The extraordinary discovery has been handed over to the Cultural Heritage Agency of Iceland, who described it an exciting Viking find and speculate it may have come from a previously undiscovered settlement or grave.
“We date the sword at this stage to circa 950 AD or even prior to that,” the agency’s director general Kristín Huld Sigurðardóttir told RT.com. “We are very excited here as this is only the 23rd sword from Viking times found in Iceland.”
“There might be some remains of scabbard on the blade but we will know more about this when the conservators have done a thorough search. The goose hunters that found the sword discovered another object which we have not analyzed yet,” she added.
“Our archaeologists have now gone to evaluate whether this [area] is a pagan grave.”
With a history dating back to 950 AD if not earlier, an interesting - though unlikely - theory has emerged.
One of the men who discovered the sword, Arni Bjorn Valdimarsson, said the blade might have belonged to the man credited with founding Iceland around 870 AD.
“[I was] going goose hunting but ended up finding a sword that I think has been owned by Ingólfur Arnarson,” Valdimarsson posted on Facebook.
Thought to be the first permanent Norse settlers on the island, Ingólfur Arnarson and his wife Hallveig are said to have founded the city of Reykjavik with a simple wooden hut.
In fact, archaeological excavations on the Reykjavik’s Main Street have backed up historical texts by finding evidence of human inhabitants around this time.
Today a statue of the nation’s celebrated ancestor holding a spear stands in the capital city’s Arnarholl Park.