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Forum Index > Historical Arms Talk > VIking double-bitted axe find Reply to topic
 
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Zach Gordon




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Location: Vermont. USA
Posts: 170
PostPosted: Tue 14 Feb, 2012 8:23 am    Post subject: VIking double-bitted axe find         Reply with quote

Hello,

I am looking for pictures of the 9th century double-bitted axe find found in Birka, most likely of islamic origin. I have heard a variety of information about it, most often conflicting.... and would really like to see some photos to determine for myself.

Anyone know about this, have photos.

Thanks,

Zach Gordon
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Andrew W




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Location: Florida, USA
Posts: 58
PostPosted: Tue 14 Feb, 2012 2:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This guy?

http://static.flickr.com/39/85778099_0ef514cf76.jpg?v=0

It's from grave 909, and according to this website is pictured in Birka volume I, plate 14 picture 9. According to this site, there were similar axes in grave 1076 and 737, and the style appears to match finds from Russia and Hungary.
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Matthew Bunker




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Location: Somerset UK
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PostPosted: Wed 15 Feb, 2012 1:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That looks more like a form of dolabra than an axe.
"If a Greek can do it, two Englishman certainly can !"
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Myles Mulkey




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PostPosted: Wed 15 Feb, 2012 5:08 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Bunker wrote:
That looks more like a form of dolabra than an axe.
I completely agree, Matthew.
"There wrought Regin
by the red embers
rune-written iron
rare, enchanted;"
-Tolkien
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Matt Corbin




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PostPosted: Wed 15 Feb, 2012 7:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew Bunker wrote:
That looks more like a form of dolabra than an axe.

That was my initial reaction as well. Doesn't really look like it's intended to be used as a weapon.

“This was the age of heroes, some legendary, some historical . . . the misty borderland of history where fact and legend mingle.”
- R. Ewart Oakeshott
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Kurt Scholz




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Posts: 387
PostPosted: Wed 15 Feb, 2012 10:09 am    Post subject: question         Reply with quote

Matthew Bunker wrote:
That looks more like a form of dolabra than an axe.


Question by a nitwit. Why should this be a dolabra and no axe or a very versatile tool for many tasks?
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Peter Johnsson




PostPosted: Wed 15 Feb, 2012 2:09 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Even if it looks odd for a weapon axe, I do think this is a weapon and not a tool.
(It is a weapon because it has relatively low weight for its size and the edges are thin; too thin for a wood working axe. It would dig into the wood and get stuck. It does not cleave away wood like a good tool axe does, even those thinner carpenter axes.)
There are many of these eastern axes in Swedish finds from the viking age.
Some look very much like Tomahawks, some are a mix between a war hammer and an adze (with a turned edge) other are of a more well know shape like those small, single hand bearded axes.

This type of (double bitted?) war axe has sisters in the Baltic region, if I am not mistaken. Perhaps also Poland and further east.

I will dig around for some images to post.
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Zach Gordon




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Location: Vermont. USA
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PostPosted: Wed 15 Feb, 2012 7:12 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you so much everyone.

My professor mentioned that "there is an albeit debatable double bitted axe find from Birka, and it is evidence of trade with Islamic territory during the Viking Age... along with other finds" (paraphrase). I asked him if he had photos, and apparently he has never seen an image of the axe himself either.

Thanks,

Z
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Ralph Grinly




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Posts: 180
PostPosted: Thu 16 Feb, 2012 12:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interesting looking axe. It would be nice to know the size and weight..then we might be able to form a better opinion as to whether it's a tool, or a weapon. One thing that has me curious is..why do some folks claim it as evidence of islamic trade ? Are similar items found more often on islamic archeological sites of the period ? Just because SOME items at Birka are islamic types - it doesn't mean THIS axe came there through the islamic trade routes.
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