Viking Period Jewellery
Above are front and back views of a large disc brooch from Hagebyhöga parish (previously shown here in its pre-conservation state). It's early 10th century, executed in the Borre style and cast in copper alloy. The remains of the iron pin are still on its back side, showing that the pin has rusted in a locked position as when the brooch was fastened to a lady's dress. On the back side are also remains of a cast loop near the edge to fasten a bead string or a fine chain to hold small utensils. Identical brooches are known from the proto-town of Birka in the Lake Mälaren area, where this piece may very well have been made. Ingmar Jansson calls the type II A4.
This little beauty is only about a centimeter in diameter. It's a silver filigree bead from the same site as the large disc brooch. Imagine making all those little ornaments of beaded wire and soldering them in place along with granules of silver! That's the beauty of precious metal: the skill of the prehistoric artisans can be appreciated undiminished by any corrosion.
Here's another Borre style disc brooch, a small one, with mercury gilding. It's from Östra Husby parish. Jansson calls the type IIA, and this too is known from Birka. Look at the three little Mickey Mouse heads! This brooch has the same fastening arrangements as the large one, and in this case a copper alloy wire ring is still on the lower fastening loop.
This little disc brooch of Jansson's type IB is from Västra Tollstad parish. It's later than the others, decorated in the late-10th century Jelling style, but wear has obscured the interlace. You'll have to trust me: the spaghetti is actually a dragon with a hatched body. The pin is better preserved on this brooch: the spring is visible and there's a wire ring around the pin's fastening lugs.
Dear Reader, isn't finds porn great?
Jansson, I. 1984. Grosse/kleine Rundspangen. Arwidsson, G. (ed.). Birka II:1. Systematische Analysen der Gräberfunde. KVHAA. Stockholm.
[More blog entries about vikings, vikingperiod, jewellery, archaeology, Sweden; vikingatiden, smycken, arkeologi, Östergötland.]