Originally Posted by Pukka Bundook
I would tend to think fairly modern, really.
The shoulders on the tang still look nice and square, and being a comparatively small blade, think if it was Saxon, would have been much more corroded.
I know on the farm we have found dateable items, that looked as rough as if from the Viking age, yet can only be from the 1880's at earliest.
(Here in Alberta, there was no-one farming west of Red Deer river 'til 1880's)
When still 'home' in Yorkshire, my dad lost and found a pocket knife after about 30 years. the blade was half eaten away,...and the knife was stuck in a beam in the mill-house.....not buried or anything. (He'd been working on a grain grinder when he lost it.)
Just my thoughs.
Re. conservation, I'd soak it in a bath of Olive oil. This oil has something in it that really lifts rust, but in a gentle manner, and doesnt leave the finish looking like it'd been in vinegar or anything.
All the best,