Above: Re-enactor - the Vikings conquered vast areas in Europe, and extended their reach as far as North America and Central Asia. Above: Each year, hundreds of Viking reenactors meet for the "Big Battle" at the Viking Festival in Wolin, Poland. Above: Blacksmith Ric Furrer heats the crucible Ulfberht blade in a traditional brick forge. See your name spelled in runes and learn the meaning of each of the letters in the Viking alphabet. The Vikings were among the fiercest warriors of all time, and a select few carried the ultimate weap- on: a sword nearly 1,000 years ahead of its time. Fashioned using a process unknown to the Vikings’ rivals, the Ulfberht sword was a revolutionary high-tech blade as well as a work of art. But how did master swordsmiths of the Middle Ages come up with the Ulfberht’s complex recipe, and what was its role in history? Thousands of Viking swords have since been found, most discovered in rivers or excavated from burials across Scandinavia and Northern Europe.


In "Secrets Of The Viking Sword," NOVA and National Geographic follow modern day swordsmith Ric Furrer as he endeavors to become the first person in a thousand years to bring this mysterious sword back to life. Viewers will watch every step of the way as he uses period tools and methods to build a special oven, heat and cool the raw iron, and skillfully wield the mallet to shape and forge the metal by hand, hammer blow by powerful hammer blow. The film demonstrates the dramatic and extremely challenging forging process as it unfolds, step-by-step, and illustrates how technology and innovation enabled craftsmen to create one of the greatest weapons of all time. Your browser does not support inline frames or is currently configured not to display inline frames.
It has been almost 1,000 years since a metallurgically accurate Ulfberht blade has been made. With compelling stories and spectacular visuals, NOVA programs demystify science and technology for viewers of all ages and spotlight people involved in scientific pursuits. But the secrets behind this super sword’s design, creation and use have remained hidden for centuries. Considered by some to be one of the greatest swords ever made, it remains a fearsome weapon more than a millennium after it last saw battle.


Of those, only 171 are marked Ulfberht--most only corroded skeletons of once magnificent blades--further cloaking the mysteries of what some experts deem the ultimate weapon of the fiercest warriors. Furrer reverse engineers this legendary sword with the help of new findings about the chemistry of the Ulfberht’s steel.
Many experts believe that the Volga trade route supplied Vikings with prized crucible steel from the Middle East, where people were more practiced in the art of forging it. According to archeometallurgist Alan Williams' research, Ulfberht swords with the +T inscription were made from crucible steel, a pure kind of steel not known in Europe during the Viking Age.
Its combination of strength, lightness, and flexibility represented the perfect marriage of form and function in the chaos that was a Viking battle.



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