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"Secrets of the Viking Sword," Nova (Night/WGBH, 2012), on PBS-TV at http://video.pbs.org/video/2284159044 .

This Nova program, shown on PBS October 11, 2012, was as fascinating as the previous study of the Samurai katana. Turns out that the ancient Viking Ulfberht Sword was of even higher quality than the katana.

The legendary Ulfberht Sword was made of a clean, high-carbon slag-free steel (crucible steel) created in an oven closed at the top, vented at bottom side, and heated with bellows to about 3,000 degrees F. No known technology would enable the creation of a similar sword for another 800 years after the technology was lost.

The Vikings likely got the technology (and perhaps the raw material) from north Iran via the Volga trade route which they regularly used. Such technology was already being used in Central Asia to make Damascus steel.

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