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Home > Auctions > 24th May 2022 > Migration Period Pattern-Welded Spatha Sword

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LOT 0341

GBP (£) 4,000 - 6,000
EUR (€) 4,670 - 7,000
USD ($) 5,000 - 7,490

Sold for (Inc. bp): £8,450



A double-edged spatha of Osterburken-Kemathen type with damask pattern (rosette damask technique B.II.I.2), evidence of use along the blade, fullers running almost to the end of the well-preserved tip; tapering tang with an iron fastening rivet still in situ. 36 in. (700 grams, 91.5 cm long). Fine condition.

Acquired 1971-1972.
From the collection of the vendor's father.
Property of a London, UK, collector.
Accompanied by an archaeological expertise by military specialist Dr Raffaele D'Amato.
This lot has been checked against the Interpol Database of stolen works of art and is accompanied by AIAD certificate no.11200-187529.

Cf. Peirce, I., Swords of the Viking age, Woodbridge, 2002; Miks, C., Studien zur Romischen Schwertbewaffnung in der Kaiserzeit, I-II Banden, Rahden, 2007; for a very similar specimen see Peirce, p.26, sword in the collection of D’Acre Edwards: Miks, 2007, no.A766, p.755, pl.141, from Vrasselt.

The swords of the Osterburken-Kemathen type, a typology used by Germanic and Roman warriors in the Migration Period, was not so different in its basic shape from the Illerup-Whyl late Roman specimens, of which they were maybe a further development. The Osterburken type seems to be a bigger and heavier sword of Illerup-Whyl type. What makes this sword a formidable specimen is its pattern-welding. It appears that the central body of the blade was assembled from twisted bars of three layered material stacks, with steels in alternating order, and the result was achieved by the degree of grinding to which the blade was subjected.