Early Anglo-Saxon weaponry from Saltwood Tunnel, Kent
Barry Ager, Esther Cameron, Stephanie Spain and Ian Riddler
Channel Tunnel Rail Link London and Continental Railways Oxford Wessex Archaeology Joint Venture, CTRL Specialist Report Series (2006)
The early Anglo-Saxon weapons from the three Saltwood cemeteries include swords, shields, angons, arrowheads, spears, seaxes and large knives. The seaxes and large knives are included with the remainder of the knives from the cemeteries and are briefly discussed in a separate text (Riddler, Cameron and Marzinzik 2006). However, they are described here in more detail, in order to provide a complete overview of the early Anglo-Saxon weapons. The discussion of weapon combinations at Saltwood can be found in Riddler and Trevarthen 2006 and the metallurgical analyses of the weapons are described in Gilmour 2006, parts of which are also
2.1 Overview of the swords
Eleven swords were found in graves C1048, C1081, C1145, C1163 and C6653 within the Central cemetery, in graves C3779, C3826, C3944, C3885 and C4665 in the Western cemetery and W1767 in the Eastern cemetery. They are almost all of the long, narrow-bladed, double-edged Behmer type VI (Behmer 1939, 121-73), and with a pointed tip, except for grave C6653, which is rounded. Early Anglo-Saxon swords were essentially rather clumsy, overarm hacking and cutting weapons with a low point of balance (Hill and Thompson 2003, 158).