Whetstone fragment, possibly made of slate that looks like ‘phyllite’, where the the broken end of the hone has been sheathed in lead, which has held its parts together. This is an unusual example of the repair of a personal hone so it could be continued to be carried and used after its breakage. The hone would originally have been of a tapered bar-shaped form and was sawn to shape. Hones of this size were personal items to be carried and worn at the belt alongside the knife they sharpened. True ‘phyllite’ hones came from Telemark in Norway, and were among the first imported whetstones of the Viking Age. A range of other banded and coloured stones, many found in graves at Birka, were adapted for similar use, and their fine appearance was as important as their usefulness as sharpening stones.
Sunnifa is a Scandinavianised form of Old English Sunngifu, which was the name of an Irish Christian queen who fled to Norway in the tenth century, according to her legend. She was later venerated as a saint and is the patron saint of Bergen and Western Norway. The name appears in Norway from the eleventh century onwards, but it is rare in Iceland and Denmark. Sunnifa is well-attested in medieval English documents notably in Lincolnshire and Yorkshire, as well as some field-names in West Yorkshire.