Kai found the old metal parts in the potato fields after his father-in-law finished plowing the land at Øverås in Vestnes, in Møre and Romsdal County, Norway.
He thought the pieces looked like they formed a sword, but his wife Heidi disagreed. They wrapped the pieces in a towel and put them in the garage.
Two years later, Heidi decided to contact County Conservator Bjørn Ringstad in Møre and Romsdal County Municipality, first via Facebook and then on the phone, to determine whether the two pieces in the picture she sent over actually formed a sword.
"After talking to Ringstad, I have hardly been able to sleep. Imagine if it really was a Viking sword? In our garden?" Grønningsæter said in July.
In two parts, with a covered in rust, but clearly - a sword! Photo: Møre and Romsdal County
Expert assessment: It's a Viking sword
The County Conservator did not take long to determine that the rusted pieces came from a Viking sword.
"This is a double-edged sword from between the 8th and 9th centuries," he said, after a quick look at the shape and the hilt. He identified it by the handle, which is typical for swords of the period.
When Kai found them, the two pieces were hanging together but later broke in two. Both parts are covered in lumps of rust, but the shape of a sword is clear.
"It is not very well preserved, but it's a Viking sword all the same," Ringstad added.
Finding a Viking sword is not something that even County Conservator Bjørn Ringstad experiences often. Photo: Møre and Romsdal County
A rare find
A sword find is not a common occurrence for archeologists or county conservators. During the time Ringstad has been in the County Council, he has seen only two such sword finds.
He excavated one himself in Sunndal in the 90s.
"It is quite special to stand here with a sword in your hands that has not been touched for over a thousand years," he said.
He is excited about whether more artifacts may lie in the ground. There is a mound close to the potato field, and archaeologists wonder if it could have been a burial mound, according to the Møre og Romsdal County website.
The discovery site, the mound, and the plot are located on a ridge, with a view north towards Julsundet on one side, and Rekdal and Tresfjord on the other – a perfect location for a Viking grave.
The Viking sword was found close to the location in the photograph, in the middle of a potato field. It is located right next to a small mound. Photo: Møre og Romsdal County
Several graves in the area
There are several graves in the immediate area, including at Nerås. In the Viking Age, several Norwegian kings fought for power; King Bolung of Bolungneset was constantly in conflict with Gjermund of Gjermundnes, in Vestnes.
"Most swords were found in connection with a grave. If you find a sword, you can find the entire weapon set with axes, spears, arrows, and tools that the dead person was buried with," Ringstad explained.
Now the archaeologists will probably return to Østerås to carry out closer investigations of the discovery site.
The sword will be delivered to NTNU Trondheim for conservation as soon as possible. There, technical conservators will, among other things, carry out X-ray scans to study the metal content and see if the sword has some form of decoration, for example, engravings in silver, and confirm how old it is.
Feel free to reach out to discuss potential stories that may be in the public interest. You can reach us via email at email@example.com with the understanding that the information you provide might be used in our reporting and stories.