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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 Designs

Drawing of a Polyhedral Weight

This drawing is of a polyhedral weight of a type that the Vikings adopted from Middle Eastern cultures and brought back to Europe with them. These weights are very common on Viking Age sites.

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Viking Objects

Copper-Alloy Die Stamp (DENO-698D71)

A copper-alloy die, known as Hiddensee-Rügen type, used for making pressed silver or gold sheet appliqués, which were applied to the back-plate of pendants or used as a base for filigree and granulation work.

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Viking Objects

Reproduction Round Weight

A round lead weight made in an open mould, as shown by the rounded edges of the top which indicate shrinkage in the mould.

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Viking Objects

Saltfleetby Spindle Whorl (LIN-D92A22)

A lead spindle whorl found at Saltfleetby St Clement, Lincolnshire, and inscribed with runes. The dating of the spindle whorl is uncertain, and dates in the late Viking Age, the early eleventh century, or even the twelfth century, have been suggested. The spindle whorl is inscribed with Scandinavian runes that appear to mention the Norse gods Odin and (possibly) Heimdall. The object is likely to have been produced locally, though the runes demonstrate contacts with the Scandinavian world of the time, perhaps especially Norway. John Hines has suggested the translation ‘Óðinn and Heimdallr and Þalfa, they are helping you, Úlfljót, and …’. For further discussion of the text, see the open-access article by Jesch referenced below. For more on runes, see our Runes page.

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Viking Objects

Round Lead Weight (PUBLIC-2DDD03)

Weights are an important form of evidence for Viking Age commerce and the use of standards across the different economic systems within which Vikings were integrated. Many of the weights discovered, particularly ones in Ireland and those of Arabic type, suggest that a standardized system of weights existed in some areas. These standard weights, alongside standard values of silver, are what allowed the bullion economy of Viking occupied areas to function. A bullion economy was a barter economy that relied on the exchange of set amounts of precious metal in various forms, such as arm-rings or coins, for tradable goods, such as food or textiles. Each merchant would have brought their own set of weights and scales to a transaction to make sure that the trade was conducted fairly.  

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Viking Objects

St Edmund Penny (LEIC-4FC58C)

Between 895 and 915, Scandinavian settlers in East Anglia minted a series of pennies and half pennies with the inscription SCE EADMVND REX (St Edmund the king). These coins appear to have been used widely throughout the Danelaw, and a large number of them were discovered in the Cuerdale Hoard from Lancashire. This coin appears to have been made with a poorly engraved die and features a blundered inscription naming the moneyer. The Portable Antiquities Scheme suggests that the moneyer’s name was Winegar. The inscription reads YVINRE NO.

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Viking Objects

Lozenge Brooch (NLM194)

This openwork Borre-style square brooch with animal heads on each corner was found in Elsham, Lincolnshire, in 1997. This type of brooch was an accessory for women wearing Scandinavian dress. For more information on Scandinavian jewellery in England check out our blog: Brooches, Pendants and Pins: Scandinavian Dress Accessories in England.

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Viking Objects

Reproduction Drop Spindle

A reproduction of a lead alloy spindle whorl with a runic inscription, modelled on a find from Saltfleetby St Clement, Lincolnshire.  Fibres were spun into thread using a drop-spindle of which the whorls were made of bone, ceramic, lead, or stone and acted as flywheels during spinning.

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Viking Objects

Reproduction Polyhedral Weights

A group of four polyhedral weights of a type that is common throughout the Viking diaspora. This example has fourteen sides and four dots on each of the rectangular sides. These weights were adopted by the Vikings from Middle Eastern examples and appear to have become a de facto weight standard for traders.

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Viking Objects

Reproduction Lozenge Brooch

A copper alloy lozenge brooch in the Borre style based off a find in Lincolnshire. This type of brooch was common throughout the Danelaw in the Viking Age and was used as an accessory by 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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