Archive for the ‘Archeology’ Category

“Remnants of Revenants”

A particularly bad undead was the Icelandic duagr or revenant. These pesky undead might be confined to the barrows but the more powerful could range around. The worst of all attacked animals, humans and whole villages.

Click to read “Remnants of Revenants,” a short research paper on the dreaded draugr of Iceland and Norway.

Now THAT’S a Viking Chest

We’re used to recreating wooden Viking chests. That’s fine, I’d like to own a few myself. But as a matter of contrast I present a serious Viking chest from @1000 AD. It presently resides at Bayerisches Nationalmuseum:

Added afterward: this is the Bamberg Casket dated about 975. It is Scandinavian work but was found in a Bavarian church. It’s made of oak, walrus ivory, gilt copper and rock crystal. It’s presently in the Bavaria National Museum in Munich, Germany. It’s sometimes referred to as “Queen Kunigunde’s jewel casket” but that is extremely improbable.

David M. Wilson’s Viking Art mentions more details.

The Bamberg Casket is now in the Bavarian National Museum in Munich…. Of Scandinavian workmanship.(It was the Cammin casket and not the Bamberg Casket which was destroyed during WWII – but the workmanship and style are very similar.)

“The casket is square in plan and has a slightly pitched roof: 10.4″ (25 cm.) long and 5.1 in. (13 cm.) high, it consists of an oak box covered with thin, carved sheets of walrus ivory. These sheets are clasped by gilt-bronze bands, which are nailed to the wooden base. The lid is reinforced and decorated with ridge poles set saltirewise with a spherical crystal separating four animal heads in the centre.  The animal and birds heads are in high relief and are floridly formalized. The other strips of gilt bronze are decorated with a formal tendril pattern, or an irregular Scandinavianized interlaced version of it, modern replacements (the original key hole is a T-shaped slot in the lid), while a number of pieces of cast bronze are missing from the space between the arms of the saltire on the lid.” (The nails look like brass escutcheon pins to me.)

“The ivory panels are skilfully decorated in a lively version of the Mammen style. In one of the fields of the lid, for example, is a human mask triangular form, the moustache, hair and beard of which are produced into fantastically elaborate scrolls and tendrils, the broader band containing the familiar pelleting so typical of the style. Other panels contain birds and animals (in pairs or singly), all caught up in the great convolutions of the tendrils and leaf-like interlace. The right-hand panel on the lid of the box, for example, bears the representation of of a fierce creature with lip-lappet, spiral hips, large feet, interlacing terminals and a tail terminating in an acanthus leaf…

11th-13th Century Scissors

This little pair of scissors from Wüsten Schloss in Oschatz, Germany, has been dated between 1000-1250. I don’t read German so I don’t know the names of the rest of the objects. If one of you does please comment because I would love to know.

As always I’m happy to find objects that existed in my persona’s early 12th century time period. We know that scissors and shears did exist but it’s always good to find a picture. The wonderful Medieval Material Culture Blog has more links to pictures of period scissors.

Staffordshire Hoard Goes on Display

Apparently I’ve been playing too much World of Warcraft because I kept trying to spell “Hoard” as “Horde.” I think I’ve got it straight now.

This gorgeous Anglo-Saxon cross is one of the items from the huge Staffordshire find. Most items are still being catalogued but a few of the most interesting have been cleaned and are on display at the Potteries Museum in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent.

Gorgeous Ring

Is this beautiful or what? The Anglo-Saxon ring from Mercia has been dated it to the early ninth century. It was discovered in the 19th century near Berkeley Castle where it stayed in a private collection. Now archeologists are doing excavations around the castle to unearth a 6th century monastery. This has renewed interest in the area so the collection owners have opened up viewing to the public. The ring is one of the items on display.