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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 Names

Blesi

The male name Blesi is found in two Swedish runic inscriptions and is also recorded as the name of one of the original settlers of Iceland. It was originally a by-name, meaning ‘blaze, white spot on a horse’s forehead’. Blesi is also the first element in the place-name Bleasby, Nottinghamshire.

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Viking Objects

Fragment of an Equal-Armed Brooch (SWYOR-FAFC04)

A fragment of a Viking Age equal-armed brooch found at Harworth Bircotes, Nottinghamshire. This fragment is the boss of the brooch and resembles brooches found at Birka, Sweden. Its decoration consists of a Borre style animal with gripping arms or legs.  This is one of only six Scandinavian, Viking period equal-armed brooches recorded in England. 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 Names

Tofi

The name Tófi is very common in the Viking Age, though mostly in Sweden and Denmark. It forms the first element of the hybrid place-name Toton, Nottinghamshire.

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Viking Names

Thorfast

Þorfastr is a common male name in the eastern part of the Viking world – it is common in Swedish runic inscriptions and is even found in the inscription on a rune-stone fragment found in Finland, as well as a couple of Danish ones, but it does not occur in any Norwegian or Icelandic texts. It can be found in the runic inscription on the Lincoln comb-case.

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Viking Names

Gunnhild

Gunnhildr is a very common female name throughout the Viking world. In England, the name has a particularly wide geographical distribution that extends beyond the Danelaw and beyond the Viking Age. Its popularity was most likely influenced by its use in the Danish royal family in the eleventh century, when it was borne by an aunt, a daughter and a niece of King Cnut. The name is also the first element of the place-name Gunthorpe, Nottinghamshire.

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Viking Names

Svein

The Old Norse male name Sveinn was one of the commonest in Scandinavia, particularly in Denmark and Sweden, where it is recorded in many runic inscriptions. It occurs as the first element in the Lincolnshire place-name of Swinethorpe. Early forms of this name confirm that it is nothing to do with swine, but rather contains this name. The name continued in use in both Lincolnshire and Yorkshire well into the thirteenth century. It was famously the name of the father of King Knútr, later king of all England. Sveinn was known as ‘Forkbeard’ and died in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, in 1014 according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.

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Viking Names

Kati

Káti is a fairly common male personal name in the Viking world, occurring in the inscriptions on at least six Swedish rune-stones. It  is the first element in the place-name Caythorpe, Nottinghamshire. There are also several place-names in Lincolnshire which contain this name, including Cadeby and Caythorpe. The name may originally have been a nickname, as it means ‘the cheerful one’.

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Viking Names

Stari

Stari  (also Starri) is mainly found in Iceland, though there is one in a Swedish rune-stone inscription and it has been suggested as the first element in Staythorpe, Nottinghamshire. It derives from a by-name meaning ‘one who stares’.

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