We, the Thegns, are a Midlands-based group dedicated to celebrating and encouraging public appreciation of English history from the Migration period and "Viking Age", and exploration of these periods through primary research, public events, and re-constructive archaeology.
Our interests include aspects of the culture of the Anglo-Saxons, Vendel Culture, Vikings and Normans, and their influence on English history. To learn more, visit our articles page, or read about re-constructive archaeology at our projects page.
For updates on our activities and articles, visit our facebook page.
Sunday, 29 September 2013
From the first moment I set eyes on the beautiful gold and garnet seax collars K354, K370 and K449 from the Staffordshire Hoard, with their associated pommel-cap K376 and hilt loop K690, I was keen to attempt a reconstruction. The association between these finds was identified early following the discovery of the original batch of Hoard items in the famous field in Hammerwich, and implied the existence of a rare seax with a hilt of unprecedented beauty and balance. I was keen to construct a good replica to better understand this lovely weapon.
The project finally reached completion just in time for the Thegns' visit to West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village, and has taken two years of blood tears and sweat, from planning to completion. The result has facilitated a much better appreciation for the supreme skill and dedication of the Anglo-Saxon master weapon-smiths.
What would such a weapon have looked like, what length would the blade have been, how would the grip have functioned and, given the mass of gold in the handle, what would be the balance of the weapon?
To answer these questions, I embarked on a project to produce a feasible reconstruction of this unique seax.
Sunday, 1 September 2013
Compared to the splendour of the reconstructed Sutton-Hoo helm or the virtually intact magnificence of the ‘Coppergate’, the so-called ‘Pioneer Helm’ was underwhelming, being plain and functional. Only half had survived the plough; the back section and one side having been destroyed. Still, there was enough left to reconstruct and over the next few weeks, a replica of sorts was produced. It has to be said that I disliked the thing from the beginning and have never taken it out of the dark recesses of its cabinet.
Recently, however, we acquired another replica, this time made by Tim Noyes of Heron Armoury (heronarmoury.co.uk). His version is, to my eyes, much more aesthetically pleasing and while it will never be as beautiful as its kingly contemporaries, is worthy of respect as a functional piece of armour. It is thus worth while examining what was probably the most common type of iron helmet in Early Anglo-Saxon England.