In 1931, the so-called “Beardmore sword” was reportedly discovered in Thunder Bay, Ontario, alongside several other Norse artifacts. James Edward Dodd claimed he found them while prospecting for gold in the area. The objects appear to be Norwegian in manufacture with estimated production dates ranging from 850 to 1025. It is now widely accepted that the relics are authentically Norse, but they were planted there in the first quarter or so of the 20th century (Text from the label accompanying the sword in the exhibit).
This is a fun story about a 9th-10th c. Viking sword, and how it was imagined to have come from Northern Ontario. Canada has the distinction of confirmed Viking long-term landings in North America, notably L’Anse aux Meadows, a late 10th c. Viking settlement on the Northernmost tip of Newfoundland. While most of us would admit that we’d love to have our own authentically Viking sword, claims of Nordic exploration in the past have been designed to undercut French and Aboriginal claims, so the story is a bit loaded. But it is also a bit of sleuthing fun, and kicks off an exhibit beginning next week at Toronto’s famous Royal Ontario Museum. Enjoy the story here as this week’s Friday Feature.