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Excavated Viking swords have become a familiar feature in the London salerooms, but prehistoric finds are rarer visitors and were generally warmly welcomed.

“It was pleasing to see global coverage in the Neolithic objects which we have not touched on before,” said Del Mar.

The stone implements were of Scandinavian origin, mostly dating from c.2500BC, and included daggers, sickles and axeheads. The appeal of these ancient objects is clear and the most finely worked examples were selling for between £1000-3000 at the auction on December 4.

Four of these are illustrated here, along with a rare silver-mounted Viking spearhead.

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Dating from some 3000 years later than the Neolithic weapons, but from the same collection, this Viking spearhead of c.1100, 15in (38cm) long, was bid all the way to £12,000 at Thomas Del Mar. Though corroded and cleaned, the ridged blade was complete and mounted on a silver socket engraved with a human head and interlaced motifs. A similar but slightly smaller spearhead reached £8400.