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Hiker Finds 1.2K-Year-Old Viking Sword

By Jenn Gidman (Newser) – 
Goran Olsen was enjoying a leisurely hike recently in Norway when he stopped near the fishing village of Haukeli, about 150 miles west of Oslo. Under some rocks along a well-traversed path, he made a discovery that's now the envy of every detectorist in Scandinavia: a 30-inch wrought-iron Viking sword, estimated to be about 1,200 years old, CNN reports. One would think a sword that old would be so decrepit it could never be wielded again, but a Hordaland County archaeologist says it just needs a little polish and a new grip to be good to go.

"The sword was found in very good condition," Jostein Aksdal notes, per the Local. County conservator Per Morten Ekerhovd adds, per CNN: "It's quite unusual to find remnants from the Viking age that are so well preserved … it might be used today if you sharpened the edge."

The extreme weather in the area likely had something to do with the sword's relatively unscathed condition: The mountains are covered in snow and ice six months out of the year, and there's no humidity in the summer, so the sword would have been protected. No one's sure what the blade's backstory is yet, but scientists are already thinking beyond winter and into the springtime thaw. 

"When the snow has gone in spring, we will check the place where the sword was found," Aksdal says. "If we find several objects, or a tomb, perhaps we can find the story behind the sword." 

Ekerhovd says the weapon could have been from a burial site or belonged to someone passing through who may have died. But "it was a costly weapon, and the owner must have used it to show power," Aksdal tells the Local. The Viking artifact has been sent for conservation at the University Museum of Bergen. (The inscription on this medieval sword has become a real head-scratcher.)

*The photo shown above is not the actual sword, it is for illustration purposes only.

‘Sunday Night Football’ Ratings Hit Low As ‘Walking Dead’ Returns; ‘Quantico’ Drops

On a packed Sunday that saw the fall TV season in full swing and the NFL season really starting to kick, the New York Giants won but Sunday Night Football (5.8/16) was thrown for a loss. Maybe it was the return of blockbuster The Walking Dead on AMC at 9 PM for its sixth season, or the baseball playoffs, but in metered market results, last night’s primetime Giants-San Francisco 49ers game on NBC got a 13.1/22 in metered-market results to hit a season low. Although it was a rise of just 2% over last year’s SNF Week 5 game, the Giants’ 30-27 victory was down 11% from the MM result that the New Orleans Saints’ OT victory over the Dallas Cowboys drew on October 4.

A tight and tense game, with some determining moves by Eli Manning and Larry Donnell, saw the Giants win at home, but fast nationals-wise it was a no win for the network or the NFL. The result among adults 18-49 took a 33% hit from the final numbers of the October 4 game. Fast nationals to fast nationals, last night’s Giants-49ers matchup was down 24% from last week. Viewershipwise, the zombie apocalypse was probably most profound, with a 33% drop to 16.13 million compared with last week. Now, those numbers will obviously change later as they always do for live events like SNF – though TWD may be already repeating its numerous wins over SNF of last season when we see the AMC show’s numbers. As things are right now, NBC easily wins the night with a 5.0/15 rating and 14.11 million total viewers.

NFL overruns on CBS pushed that net’s primetime start back to 7:33 PM in the East and Central time zones – which means their numbers are tentative. As it stands, a new 60 Minutes (3.0/9), with a sitdown with President Barack Obama, is up 114% over last week, and Madam Secretary (1.5/4), with a cameo by former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, bopped up 7% over last week’s premiere. The Good Wife (1.2/3) was even with last week’s non-NFL overrun airing, and CSI: Cyber (0.9/3) took a 10% ratings power-down from its soft October 4 Season 2 debut.

Over on ABC, 10 PM freshman Quantico (1.6/5) saw a 16% drop in the demo for its third week after holding on strong from its debut to Week 2. Again, with the Season 6 premiere going 90 minutes last night, count in the TWD factor here. Lead-in Blood & Oil (0.8/2) stumbled 38% in direct competition with SNF and TWD. The early part of ABC’s night had the season premiere of America’ Funniest Home Videos (1.1/4) dip 8% from last year’s opener to a debut low in fast nationals. At 8 PM, Once Upon A Time (1.6/5) saw an 11% decline.

Unlike last week, Fox did not have an NFL lead-in and it saw a number of declines last night compared to two weeks ago — plus, not to become boring, there was the TWD issue. Bob’s Burgers (1.0/3) started Fox’s originals with a 17% drop from its last new show of September 27. The Simpsons (1.5/5) was even with its season premiere two weeks ago, but down a hard 44% from the NFL-boosted numbers of October 4. Obviously down from last week, Brooklyn Nine-Nine (1.3/4), Family Guy (1.4/4) and Last Man On Earth (1.1/3) were also down — 13%, 27% and 21%, respectively — from their non-NFL airings two weeks ago.

And yes, those Walking Dead numbers will help sort all this out when they come in later today or tomorrow.