Secrets of the Viking Sword

"Secrets of the Viking Sword" is a PBS Nova documentary on how Vikings made their swords and their metallurgy, and how it was far advanced compared to their other European contemporaries.

While the swords have rusted and eroded, the viking swords known as Ulfberht swords were made from far superior steel known as "crucible steel", which was heated and melted at 3000 degrees to remove impurities known as slag. Removing the impurities plus adding carbon made the swords significantly stronger, less brittle and more flexible.

According to historians the Vikings probably didn't have the knowledge of creating such pure steel themselves, but instead gained it by trading with the Persians (Damascus steel) via the Volga trade route, taking steel ingots back to Scandinavia and then crafting their Ulfberht steel blades there.

The vikings also tapered the tips of their blades to better pierce chain mail of the era and crafted their swords with special techniques.

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