13th-century Norwegian knife found in Oslo shows royal figure participating in falconry
Norwegian archaeologists uncover 13th-century knife made from animal bones that features royal figure participating in falconry – but experts can’t decide if it represents a king or queen
- The three-inch-long knife was discovered in medieval Oslo
- Made from animal bones in the 13th century, the handle depicts a royal figure
- There is a hawk perched on the figure’s arm, which experts say is the earliest Scandinavian depiction of the aristocratic activity of falconry
A knife taken from the icy landscape of Norway features a handle that looks like a 13th century royal – but archaeologists cannot determine if it is a king or a queen.
Made from animal bone, the object shows a figure with a crown on his head and a peregrine falcon perched on his arm.
Researchers at the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research say the artefact represents the earliest Scandinavian depiction of the aristocratic activity of falconry.
The knife was discovered by archaeologists working in medieval Oslo, who found the object right in front of one of their tents.
Knife taken from Norway’s icy landscape features a handle designed to resemble a 13th-century royal – but archaeologists can’t determine if it’s a king or queen
Ann-Ingeborg Floa Grindhaug, the archaeologists who discovered the knife, said she thought it was a large fish bone when she pulled it out of the snow.
“I thought he had a strange shape,” she said in a statement.
When she turned the three-inch-long object, she was pleasantly surprised to see a smiley face on a figure staring at her.
Kjartan Hauglid, art historian and researcher at NIKU, who led the excavation, said in a statement: âThere is no doubt that the figure is wearing a crown.
Ann-Ingeborg Floa Grindhaug (pictured), the archaeologists who discovered the knife, said she thought it was a large fish bone when she pulled it out of the snow When she turned the three-inch-long object, she was pleasantly surprised to see a smiley face on a figure staring at her.
“But it’s harder to decide if it’s a king or a queen.”
NIKU explains that the falcon sculpture does not reveal the character’s gender, as women were also falconers in medieval times.
âIt was probably made in a workshop in Oslo and is one of the most important items found in Oslo in recent years,â Hauglid said.
“We only know of a handful of similar finds with northern European falcons, several of which are female.”
The date of the object, however, coincides with the reign of HÃ¥kon HÃ¥konsson, King of Norway from 1217 to 1263.
And he was known to be a major player in the field of falconry.
Made from animal bone, the object shows a figure with a crown on his head and a peregrine falcon perched on his arm
The lower part of the knife is hallowed, which, according to experts, indicates that it was a handle for a weapon or tool, is made of organic material, either bone or antler.
The figure is designed with a contemporary 13th century hairstyle where her head is wrapped and the face features a smile and her eyes are marked with small holes.
A hawk rests on the character’s right arm which appears to be gloved, and the bird’s head is tilted towards the character’s raised left hand.
The plumage is illustrated with an engraved lattice pattern and the falcon’s eye is also pierced.
“This practice was reserved for the elite, which implies high status,” the researchers explained.