View Full Version : unfullered migration erea sword dimensions

Jesse Frank
10-01-2004, 10:08 AM

Was just wondering about blade thickness in an unfullered migration era sword.

I am thinking it would be really heavy!

Would it start at 1/8" at the base and taper to something like 1/16"? I just can't imagine anything else being light enough!


10-04-2004, 05:09 PM
I'll try to get a answer for you this week. I should be able to find it in the The Sword of the Viking Age. However, this week is very short as I head off to the SCA's Great Western War with my Forge on Wednesday night :)

Jesse Frank
10-05-2004, 11:39 AM

I have that book at home :rolleyes:

Didn't even think to look there 8o

I still haven't found the time to get to the museum. I'll let you know as soon as I do.

10-05-2004, 11:55 AM
Well I get to be wrong. I brought the book into the office today and quick scan shows no thickness figures. It lists every thing but that and overall weight (yet it lists the balance point???).

So the only source on my book self to list blade thickness has to be the Wallace Collection Catalog. And it doens' have trhe blade type you are after. Sorry.

Jesse Frank
10-06-2004, 11:29 AM
Thanks for lookin!

Jerry Oksman
10-06-2004, 04:45 PM
I seem to find 1/4" at the guard tapering to tip, but these all seem to be fullered blades. That's both historical finds and repos.

My Armoury (
Has anyone seen this site? Is it helpful?

Jesse Frank
10-07-2004, 09:42 AM
Yea, thats what Ive been finding too. Not much info on the non fullered ones. I emailed the british museum to see if they would help me out. Hopefully they will.

Jesse Frank
10-15-2004, 08:54 AM
Here's the reply I got from the British museum:

Dear Mr Frank,

Thank you for your recent enquiry about the dimensions of early Anglo-Saxon swords, which Mrs Webster has forwarded to me for reply.

Because of corrosion and expansion in the damp earth, as well as the adhesion of often quite thick wooden scabbard remains, it is rarely possible to measure the thickness of the blades with any accuracy. Fortunately there are three from Waterbeach, London and the Thames in the museum's collection on which the original surfaces have survived and the thicknesses in these cases are between 4 - 5 mm, which compare well with others elsewhere. So, although the blades may seem to be rather thin, I think these dimensions can be taken as typical. In fact, many modern replicas are too thick, making them rather cumbersome. The depths of any fullers are not easy to measure, except where blades have broken, and they are quite shallow: about 1.5 mm.

The overall length of Early Anglo-Saxon swords ranges between around 870 - 945 mm, including a tang of between 110 - 130 mm. The grip is always single-handed, about 91 - 96 mm between the guards. They are generally of the narrow-bladed sort, between about 43 - 58 mm wide at the top, and some are completely parallel-sided, but often there is a slight taper of around 4 - 8 mm measured at 150 mm from the tip. This probably improved handling a little, as the early swords are generally point-heavy and would have been easiest to swing overarm.

In case you have not already come across it, a useful account of the replication of the sword from the Anglo-Saxon royal burial in Mound 1 at Sutton Hoo, Suffolk, is given in a booklet by

Engstrom, R., Lankton, S.M. A Modern Replication Based on the Pattern-welded Sword

and Lesher-Engstrom, A., of Sutton Hoo, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo.


It should be noted, though, that they used a modern forge, not one based on examples from antiquity.

I hope you find these details helpful and, as I have a strong interest in early medieval weaponry myself, should be very glad to hear about the results of your experiments. Best of luck with the furnace!

Yours sincerely,

Barry Ager


Continental early medieval collection

British Museum

London WC1B 3DG