University of Iceland History Professor Gunnar Karlsson suggests the sword discovered by goose hunters in South Iceland may have belonged to the priest and chieftain Hróar Tungugoði, Vísir reports. Hróar was, according to the Book of Settlements and the Icelandic sagas, among the most powerful men in the region where the sword was found. His district most likely spanned an area from Jökulsá river in Sólheimasandur in the west to Skeiðará river in the east.
The Book of Settlements relates that Hróar lived on the farm Ásar, which, according to Gunnar, was possibly located in the vicinity of the area where the sword was found.
“Hróar’s nickname [Tungugoði] suggests he was a chieftain, and, thus, you can hypothesize that a chieftain such as he could have possessed the sword,” Gunnar stated.
University of Iceland Archaeology Professor Steinunn Kristjánsdóttir asserted that you can presume the owner of the sword was a high-ranking man in society, since there are no indications of women possessing swords in those days.
“Swords were very valuable, and not for the average person to acquire. The making of one sword took up to three years, and only the most skillful blacksmiths knew how to make good swords. Only those of the highest rank had such an object,” Steinunn explained.
Kristín Huld Sigurðardóttir, head of the Cultural Heritage Agency of Iceland, stated that a sword such as this one could have been made abroad, even of material transported from far away, possibly as far as mainland Europe.
The sword is the 23rd to be discovered in Iceland from the Viking Age, but only 16 of them have a hilt.