BOG IRON. I have posted (for example here) on how I think of my Irish and Danish ancestors as bog people. I have now learned from a program on the History Channel about the Battle of Maldon that Viking iron weapons and steel-tipped axes came from bog iron. This wonderfully illustrated article on bog iron says that where there is a peat bog, there is usually bog iron. (“Where streams run from nearby mountains through a peat bog, bog iron can almost always be found.”) The streams carry dissolved iron from nearby mountains. One speaks of “harvesting” iron from bogs. When peat is cut with turf knives, pea-sized nodules of iron are found. (The nodules form because: “In the acidic environment of the bog, a chemical reaction forms insoluble iron compounds which precipitate out.”) A bog can be reharvested every thirty years or so. This article, also wonderfully illustrated, describes how “battle axes in the Viking age were light, fast, and well balanced, and were good for speedy, deadly attacks, as well as for a variety of nasty tricks.” It has photographs which “illustrate some speculative interpretations of Viking axe techniques.” By the way, the Vikings won the Battle of Maldon in 991, resulting in the first payment of Danegeld in England.

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