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Viking Objects

Reproduction Viking Age Sword

A reproduction of the sword found in Grave 511 at Repton. The hilt is made of wood laths wrapped in tabby weave textile strips. The scabbard is made of two wooden laths, lined with trimmed sheep fleece, and covered in an oak-stained, stitched, calf-leather cover. The strap slide is copper alloy and inserted under the leather. The sword belt shown with the scabbard is based on the sword belt from Grave 511 at Repton.

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Viking Objects

Reproduction Drinking Glass

A green glass drinking vessel based on one found at Birka and similar to fragments found at St Peter’s Street, Northampton.

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Viking Objects

Reproduction Soapstone Mould

A soapstone (steatite) mould for casting jewellery. This reproduction is double-sided so that it can be used to cast the main brooch or two disc brooches simply by reversing the mould. It is based on known examples of soapstone moulds but the main mould has been created to reproduce the Barker Gate brooch from Nottingham. Soapstone or steatite was widely used in Scandinavia and the Viking diaspora, as it is soft and easily carved, in particular for cooking vessels in cultures that did not produce ceramics. There are soapstone quarries in Norway, Shetland and Greenland. Soapstone objects found elsewhere generally suggest a Viking link to one of these places, though smaller ones are often repurposed from what were originally larger vessels.

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Viking Objects

Reproduction Square Mammen Brooch

This reproduction brooch is based on a small number of Mammen-style brooches found in England. Three rectangular brooches of this type are known from Linwood, Lincolnshire, West Stow Heath, Suffolk, and Bergh Apton, Norfolk, with further examples found in Cambridgeshire and East Anglia in 2015 and 2016. It is a type which has Carolingian-inspired shapes and Scandinavian decoration, which seem to have been produced in the Danelaw, and was an accessory for women who wore Scandinavian dress. 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.

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Viking Objects

Reproduction Equal-Armed Brooch

A reproduction of an equal-armed brooch in the Borre style found in Nottinghamshire. This style of brooch is known from Birka in Sweden, suggesting trade contacts or individuals from Birka arriving in the East Midlands. Brooches were a typical part of female dress. 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.

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Viking Objects

Reproduction Bone Comb with Runic Inscription

A bone comb with a case with a runic inscription on it. The inscription reads, in translation, “Thorfast made a good comb.” The Vikings had a reputation for looking after their personal hygiene. Combs were an important part of that process, not just for combing your hair but also for removing nits and lice.

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Viking Objects

Reproduction Hammer-shaped Pendant

A gold hammer-shaped pendant, popularly called a Thor’s hammer pendant, from Spilsby, Lincolnshire. These may have been worn to show devotion to the god Thor, or to secure the god’s protection, although there is little evidence to support this interpretation. Pendants like this have been found made of lead, copper alloy, silver and gold, showing that many different strata of society could have worn them.

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Viking Objects

Coin of Cnut the Great (LEIC-4B7888)

This Short Cross Type silver penny was minted in the name of King Cnut between 1024 and 1030 in the Derby mint by the moneyer Swartinc. The location of discovery is unknown. Minting coins was a way of controlling the means of exchange within a kingdom and which created a more easily administered standardized system of trade. Moreover, the coins themselves were often used as propaganda, portaying symbols and statements that gave off a desired message. The Vikings later used the minting of coins to legitimize their own rule.

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Viking Objects

Reproduction Glass Kingpiece

This glass kingpiece is a reproduction based on a set found in grave 750 at the Viking Age settlement of Birka, Sweden. This piece would have been used to play hnefatafl, a board game which is known to have been played in Scandinavia in the Viking Age.

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Viking Objects

Coin of Cnut the Great (LEIC-3E8CC4)

This silver Helmet IIIc Type penny was minted for King Cnut of England in London. The obverse inscription reads CNVTREXANG while the obverse reads EADPOLD ON LVND. Minting coins was a way of controlling the means of exchange within a kingdom and which created a more easily administered standardized system of trade. Moreover, the coins themselves were often used as propaganda, portaying symbols and statements that gave off a desired message. The Vikings later used the minting of coins to legitimize their own rule.

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Viking Objects

Clench Nail (NLM-2FC690)

Clench nails were used in clinker-style ship-building from the 7th century to the 15th and also for domestic purposes, in which clench nails might appear where ship timber has been reused. Clinker ship-building involved building the ship’s hull first out of layered planks attached to the keel and held together using clench nails. Clinker-built boats and ships are particularly associated with the Vikings.

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