Citizen Archeologists “Are Increasingly Making Important Discoveries”

(p. 11) The long, thin piece of metal looked like a scaffolding pole when Trevor Penny saw it on the banks of an English river last November [2023].

. . .

But his find that day was much more dramatic: a rusty Viking sword that had been there for more than 1,000 years.

. . .

When Mr. Penny, 52, realized what he had found, he contacted a local official responsible for identifying the public’s archaeological finds.

The discovery was “one further puzzle piece that can cast light on our shared heritage,” said that official, Edward Caswell, who documents Oxfordshire finds for the Portable Antiquities Scheme run by the British Museum.  . . .

“We do find Viking weapons, including swords, deposited in rivers in England,” said Jane Kershaw, an associate professor of archaeology at the University of Oxford.

Many such weapons have been found in the north and east of the country, Dr. Kershaw said. She called the sword a “rare example” of viking activity in the area.

“It is outside the normal find zone for these weapons,” she said. “But the Vikings, they were active in that area. There is a lot that we don’t know about their activities.”

Hobbyists are increasingly making important discoveries, and Dr. Kershaw said it was critical that they report their finds. “It’s hugely valuable information,” she said. “As long as they are recording it, this is having archaeology that otherwise would be lost.”

For the full story, see:

Isabella Kwai. “Treasure Hunter Finds Viking Sword.” The New York Times, First Section (Sunday, March 17, 2024): 11.

(Note: ellipses, and bracketed year, added.)

(Note: the online version of the story has the date March 15, 2024, and has the title “This Treasure Hunter’s Latest Find? A 1,000-Year-Old Viking Sword.”)

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