We are very pleased to offer an extremely fine-condition Viking Bearded Axe, dating from the 9th - 11th Century A.D. One of a pair, now available in the Timeless Galleries
For much of their history, the Vikings were warrior-farmers, and many of their weapons originate from every-day tools or hunting implements. So, for example, the heavy boar spear with its six-foot long shaft of ash, when used in battle, became the ‘aesc’– a favourite of wealthy thegns and earls.
Such was the case for the bearded hand axe.
The bearded axe, or Skeggöx, was probably first developed as a wood-working tool as the shape of the blade allowed the owner to grip the haft directly behind the ‘beard’ of the axe-head while shaving or planing wood. However, much like the barbs of an arrowhead, this design also produced a very long cutting edge for its size and weight – exactly the qualities a warrior would look for in a weapon.
Bearded axes were typically wrought in iron with a sharpened edge made from steel. The Viking warrior would rarely be without these short-handled axes, wearing them in their belts whether in battle or not, much like the earlier Roman legionaries would wear their ‘pugio’ daggers in the belts of their tunics - to be used as both tool and weapon.
This particular piece is of extremely high quality. The axe displays a pierced, wickedly curved blade (nobody knows why Viking axes were sometimes pierced), together with a curved chin, triangular spurs to the socket, and a long, rectangular extension to the rear. The axe has undergone electrolysis to remove surface rust (which leaves the 'gun-metal' appearance typical of preserved iron artefacts) and has been professionally conserved to prevent any further surface rusting.
Around 12cm in length and mounted on a plinth of oak and textured steel, this really is a beautiful artefact. Provided with printed documentation.
Now available in the Timeless Galleries.
VIKING BEARDED AXE
Acquired by Timeless Galleries on the UK Antiquities Market, 2020. Formerly in the collection of a Southeast London gentleman, acquired in the 1950s.