A Norwegian hiker who was following an ancient route between west and east Norway stumbled across a 1,200-year-old Viking sword.
The hiker, Gøran Olsen, was on a hunting trip when he stopped to rest in Haukeli in central southern Norway, about 150 west of the capital of Oslo. There, he found the rusted weapon under some rocks.
The wrought-iron sword is 30 inches long and dates back to around 750 A.D. during the Viking Age, which lasted for more than 300 years, between 700 A.D. and the late 11th century.
Archaeologist Jostein Aksdal said the sword would have been a sign of power in those days, and that it is in very good condition. "It is very special to get a sword that is merely lacking its grip," said the archaeologist at Hordaland County.
Given a polish and a new grip, archeologists say it would be strong enough to use today.
Aksdal said the area will be excavated when the snow is gone in the spring, and the artifact has been handed over to the University Museum of Bergen for preservation work.