A wooden Viking sword discovered at a former brewery site

Archaeologists have discovered a perfectly preserved wooden Viking Ringerike style weaver’s sword at the historic site of the former Beamish and Crawford brewery in Cork city, South Ireland.

A full view of the sword (by Raidió Teilifís Éireann)

The artefact was unearthed along other findings during recent excavations at the South Main Street site in one of the 19 Viking houses discovered there. The sword measured just over 30cm in length and is made entirely from yew wood. The most distinct feature of the weapon is a carved human face. According to archaeologists it is a typical feature of the Ringerike style of Viking art, dating it roughly to the late 11th century. The Viking houses discovered at the site preserved only at the ground level, as remains of central hearths and bedding material. The researchers state that the object was probably used by women, to hammer threads into place on a loom – the pointed end is for picking up the threads for pattern-making.

Detail of the sword (by Raidió Teilifís Éireann)

Other artefacts feature such items as a wooden thread-winder carved with two horses’ heads, also associated with fabric weaving. According to the archaeologists the full spectrum of evidence shows that Cork was in the same cultural sphere of Viking influence as Dublin and Waterford and its development was very similar. The research that led to the discovery was a part of the development of a 6000-seat multi-functional events centre costing over 73 million Euro. The Beamish and Crawford brewery, established in 1792, operated until 2009 when it was closed, but the Beamish stout is still brewed in the city, at a nearby Heineken operated facility – with Heineken International being the owner of the brand.

Handle of the sword (by Raidió Teilifís Éireann)

(after Raidió Teilifís Éireann)

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