Oval brooches were used to fasten dresses in the Viking Age. They are diagnostically Scandinavian and indicate a Scandinavian identity wherever they are found. This pair of brooches is a reproduction of a pair found at Adwick le Street near Doncaster. The mismatched pair were buried with a Norwegian woman who died within a generation of the arrival of the Great Army in the mid-ninth century.
Scandinavian brooches came in a variety of sizes and shapes which included disc, trefoil, lozenge, equal-armed, and oval shapes. The different brooch types served a variety of functions in Scandinavian female dress with oval brooches typically being used as shoulder clasps for apron-type dresses and the rest being used to secure an outer garment to an inner shift. Anglo-Saxon brooches do not match this diversity of form with large disc brooches being typical of ninth century dress styles with smaller ones becoming more popular in the later ninth and tenth centuries. However, since disc brooches were used by both Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian women they are distinguished by their morphology. Scandinavian brooches were typically domed with a hollow back while Anglo-Saxon brooches were usually flat. Moreover, Anglo-Saxon brooches were worn singly without accompanying accessories.
- circa 850 — 900
- Viking Objects
- Doncaster Museum, South Yorkshire
- brooch, copper_alloy, costume, jewellery, reproduction, South_Yorkshire, Viking, women
You can see the original at Doncaster Museum, South Yorkshire.
This object is related to
Adwick le Street, South Yorkshire.
Find out about Adwick le Street, South Yorkshire.
Made by Adam Parsons of Blueaxe Reproductions
Speed, Greg, and Penelope Walton Rogers. “A burial of a Viking woman at Adwick-le-Street, South Yorkshire.” Medieval Archaeology 48, no. 1 (2004): 51-90.
Kershaw, Jane F. Viking identities: Scandinavian jewellery in England. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), p. 20-25.