A Remarkable Discovery: Viking Sword Found Through Magnet Fishing in Oxfordshire

A Remarkable Discovery: Viking Sword Found Through Magnet Fishing in Oxfordshire

Magnet fishing, a popular hobby involving the use of strong magnets to pull metallic objects from bodies of water, usually brings up discarded junk like tire rims, keys, and bicycles. However, for magnet fisher Trevor Penny, it led to the remarkable discovery of an iron Viking sword dating back to between 850 and 975 A.D.

The Discovery

Initial Find:

  • While magnet fishing in a waterway near Standlake, Oxfordshire, Trevor Penny pulled up a heavily corroded iron object.
  • Initially uncertain about its nature, Penny consulted friends and experts who identified it as a Viking sword.


  • The Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) finds liaison officer in Standlake was contacted to confirm the discovery.
  • The officer verified that the sword was indeed from the Viking era, dating between 850 and 975 A.D.
A Remarkable Discovery: Viking Sword Found Through Magnet Fishing in Oxfordshire

Historical Significance

Viking Age Context:

  • The Viking Age spanned from the late 8th to the early 11th century and was characterized by Norse seafaring, exploration, and settlement.
  • Viking swords were highly valued, often passed down through generations and sometimes given names due to their importance.

Oldest Magnet Fishing Find:

  • The Viking sword discovered by Penny is the oldest object ever recovered in Oxfordshire through magnet fishing.
  • This significant find sheds light on the presence and activities of Vikings in the region.

Preservation and Research

Current Status:

  • The sword is already in the hands of specialists for preservation and study.
  • Conservators are working to stabilize and clean the corroded iron, hoping to reveal more details of its craftsmanship and history.

Potential Museum Display:

  • Once fully conserved, the sword may be displayed at a local museum, offering visitors a glimpse into the Viking heritage of Oxfordshire.
  • It could also become an essential educational resource for understanding Viking weaponry and craftsmanship.

Viking Swords: Features and Craftsmanship

Design and Craftsmanship:

  • Viking swords typically feature double-edged blades, a guard (cross-guard), a grip, and a pommel.
  • The craftsmanship varied depending on the materials available and the status of the owner.


  • Beyond their function as weapons, Viking swords held significant symbolic value.
  • They were often elaborately decorated and buried with their owners as grave goods.


Trevor Penny’s discovery of a Viking sword through magnet fishing in Oxfordshire has provided a unique glimpse into the region's rich history. The sword, dating back to between 850 and 975 A.D., is a significant archaeological find that underscores the historical presence of Vikings in England. Now in the hands of specialists, this ancient weapon will soon reveal more secrets of its past, offering insights into the craftsmanship and heritage of the Viking Age.