Because iron was hard to dig out of the ground, weapons could be costly. Only the richest Vikings would own the complete set of available weaponry: sword, sax (a short sword), axe, spear, bow and arrows, shield, helmet and chainmail. Poorer Vikings would carry an axe or a spear and a shield. Even the poorest Vikings had access to the ax he used at the farm.The most expensive weapon was the sword, as it took the most iron to make. Rich men owned swords, the most prestigious weapon.