Viking Sword Pommel

Viking swords were not just for fighting they were objects of show as well.

This pommel and guard from two different swords are made from whalebone.  There is some written evidence that whaling took place in 10th century Britain, not surprisingly it was described as 'a risky business catching a whale'.  The bone might equally have come from a stranded whale.

Whalebone is a light material and quite unsuitable for the job of counter-balancing the iron blade of a sword, which suggests that this particular pommel was mainly decorative. 

This fits in with the picture that is emerging of Viking York as a surprisingly peaceful place to live.


  • Yorkshire Museum
    This item is in the Yorkshire Museum collection - ref. 1979.7.4752

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