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Garnets for the Vikings: Charismatic jewellery and family memories in early Viking Age Scandinavia

Author(s): Zanette Glørstad

Year: 2017

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The paper presents how continental-inspired elite jewellery from the Merovingian period (550-800AD) continued to play an important role in the Viking Age Scandinavia (800 -1050 AD).The so-called "disc-on-bow" brooch were covered with garnets, and is one of the most spectacular jewellery types we know from this period in Europe. They nevertheless appear in a number of female graves from the Viking Age, revealing traces of having been used a long time, most likely passed down through several generations before they were placed in a grave. This opens up for exploring how tradition and memories were perceived and conveyed in a society where written text was hardly present, and disseminated and preserved through material culture. By seeing the brooches in such a context, it contributes to shed light on the fundamental changes in social structure and mentality that occur during the transition to the Viking Age. The paper will discuss the necessity to take into account how Scandinavian society in the Viking Age was influenced by its own past, and how this historicity, expressed through the brooches, contributed to shape self- recognition and social strategies within various Norse groups.

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Garnets for the Vikings: Charismatic jewellery and family memories in early Viking Age Scandinavia. Zanette Glørstad. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430399)


Geographic Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 14974

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America