Richard Wright wrote:
>>Could not this question be settled for a song by portable XRF?
>>Or are there no chemical differences known between Viking and recent iron?<<
We are faced with an object that
1: doesn't look like a Viking battleaxe (the forms, typology and chronology of which are very well known)
2: doesn't look like ANYBODY's battleaxe (that I can think of)
3: doesn't come from an archaeologically-excavated 10th/11th-century context
4: doesn't (according to the reports) come from any context likely to contain well-preserved early metalwork (such as a deep waterlogged stream bed or marsh)
5: is not in the sort of condition you would expect of 1000 year-old ironwork if it either came from a stream or river bed (it's too corroded) or from a shallow dry land site (it's not corroded enough)
6: DOES look like a relatively modern carpenter's axe (although I've only got the same photograph, with no scale, that everyone else has seen, to go by)
There's surely a point when one has to say it doesn't look like a duck and it doesn't quack like a duck, so it isn't a duck.
And in this case I'm not prepared to allow the traditional let out 'so it PROBABLY isn't a duck'. Although I'll admit there are ducks that don't quack and some that don't look very duck-like, that doesn't apply to Viking battleaxes.