ARCHEOLOGISTS say a rare Viking sword discovered in Orkney has “many stories to tell”.

The sword found at a burial site on Papa Westray in 2015 is being carefully examined – and the researchers say it has been identified as one associated with the ninth century.

While the weapon is very corroded due to its age, the archaeologists say it was highly decorated, with contrasting metals used to create a honeycomb-style design.

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Andrew Morrison of AOC Archaeology, which has been working with Historic Environment Scotland on the research, hailed the discoveries and explained how the research has been taking place.

"This rare survival will have many stories to tell,” he said.

"To preserve as much evidence as possible, we lifted the whole sword and its surrounding soil in a block to be transported to the lab and forensically excavated there.

"It's so fragile we don't even know what the underside looks like yet, so our understanding is sure to change in the coming months.

"The iron in the sword has heavily corroded, with many of the striking details only visible through x-ray.

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"At this stage we've identified the Mayback sword as a Pedersen Type D.

"These are typically associated with the 9th century.

"Type D swords are some of the heaviest from the Viking Age, which would need the balance of a substantial hilt to stabilize them."

The remains of a sheath for the sword was also found at the burial site.

According to Historic Environment Scotland, the further research planned over the next few months could “blow some minds”.