Saxon iron scramasax: 11th century
© Museum of London
Full image caption
Iron scramasax similar to a knife blade. The original handle is missing but the pointed iron tang from inside it remains. This fighting knife, or 'seax' has a blade made with a technique known as 'pattern welding'. Bars of iron and steel were twisted and hammer-welded together while white hot welded to a steel edge and ground and polished. The twisted bars produce a herringbone or snakelike pattern visible on the polished surface. Pattern welding made blades that were resilient but sharp, and was used particularly for swords and other valuable weapons. The technique was in use particularly from the 800s to the 1000s, but was superseded by better methods of steel production in the 1100s.
1000 AD - 1000 AD