A new exhibition at the NTNU University Museum in Norway is set to present a huge collection of Viking swords.

Museum communication coordinator Frid Hansen has confirmed the exhibition will begin on June 20 and will feature swords and other artifacts from the Viking Age

A spectacular collection 

The NTNU University Museum is located in Trondheim, central Norway. 

In addition to presenting natural and cultural history collections, the museum is also responsible for research and administration for the region in the fields of archeology and biology. 

The upcoming exhibition will display the finest and most significant items from the museum's collection of 700 swords.

Many of the swords that will feature in the exhibition were found in grave sites in areas close to Trondheim. 

Although some are simpler in style and were likely made by local Norse craftsmen with limited expertise, others feature ornate markings and appear to have been produced by master artisans. 

While very few of the weapons are entirely intact, many details are remarkably well-preserved. Visitors will be able to enjoy ornate carved hilts and blades with inscriptions of major historical importance. 

The exhibition will highlight the technological advancements of Viking swordsmiths, including the sophisticated metalworking techniques used to create long-lasting and highly effective weapons. Photo: NTNU University Museum

Ulfberht swords and homemade attempts 

Of particular interest in the collection are swords featuring the famous Ulfberht inscription. 

Ulfberht is believed to be a Frankish name and may indicate some kind of trademark from the producer. 

Though Ulfberht swords have been located in several locations across northern Europe, the majority have been found in Scandinavian countries, where they were commonly buried alongside warriors as part of a pagan ritual. 

Indeed, in Viking Age Scandinavia – just like in many other cultures – the sword was not only a formidable weapon, but also carried significant symbolic value

Most Norse men are believed to have owned a small knife and perhaps an axe during the Viking Age. 

Swords, however, were harder to obtain, primarily because they had a longer blade and required more metal to produce. 

For this reason, they were often seen as a status symbol and were highly impressive to look at. 

Even the Ulfberht swords, thought to have been made in the Frankish Kingdom, contained traditional Norse patterns, though later specimens featured Christian motifs on the blade or hilt. 

The three-year exhibition will explore the trade networks of the Viking Age, illustrating how swords and other artifacts moved across Europe through both peaceful trade and raiding. Photo: NTNU University Museum

Legends in the flesh 

The Viking Age boasts many famous swords, such as Erik the Red's Leg Biter blade and the Skofnung sword, reputedly wielded by the legendary Danish King Hrolf Kraki. 

For history enthusiasts, the exhibition will provide a chance to see the genuine items that may have helped inspire these timeless stories. 

The archeologist Ellen Grav, a senior engineer at the NTNU University Museum's Department of Archaeology and Cultural History, is the project leader for the upcoming exhibition. 

It will run for a total of three years, with the first year focusing on Viking voyages. 

In addition to the sword collection, visitors will also be able to view a wide array of artifacts related to plunder and trade

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