3 Fascinating Archaeological Discoveries Of Ancient Norse Jewelry
For archaeologists, finding a treasure trove of ancient jewelry is a once-in-a-lifetime career achievement, so its no surprise that large finds make international headlines. The intricate artistry and cultural significance of ancient Norse jewelry continues to captivate the imaginations of archaeologists and history enthusiasts alike – from amulets to brooches, these treasures provide insights into the aesthetics, beliefs and craftsmanship of the Nordic people. Read on as we discuss three of the most fascinating archaeological discoveries of ancient Norse jewelry, and explore how you can use these finds to shape your own Viking jewelry collection.
The Hiddensee Treasure
Discovered in the late 19th century on the German island of Hiddensee in the Baltic Sea, the Hiddensee treasure is a collection of gold ancient Norse jewelry artifacts that were dated back to the Viking age, specifically around the 10th century AD. The artifacts are closely associated with the Norse people, who were known for their intricate metalwork and craftsmanship.
The treasure includes a range of gold pieces, including rings and pendants that are characterized by their intricate designs and meticulous detailing. The motifs found on the artifacts are reminiscent of Viking art and mythology, featuring animals, geometric patterns and other symbolic representations, including the Mjolnir, more popularly recognised in the modern day as Thor’s hammer.
While we don’t know for certain what the purpose of the Hiddensee treasure was, we do know that it’s likely these beautiful pieces may have been valuable personal adornments, religious symbols, or perhaps even used as currency during trade. The discovery of such treasures provides valuable insights into the artistic skills and cultural practices of the Norse people during the Viking age, and it’s the reason why so many modern day Viking enthusiasts choose jewelry pieces that mirror the incredible finds of Hiddensee. For instance, some of our best sellers include the dual color Thor’s hammer necklace and the stunning sterling silver Mjolnir pendant.
The Isle of Man Hoard
The success of archaeologists in the pursuit of ancient wonders has continued well into the modern day, and for one amateur metal detectorist, the Isle of Man served as the perfect spot for a miraculous find - in 2021, Kath Giles made a remarkable discovery of Viking-era jewelry in farmland on the northern part of the island. Dating back to 950 AD, the collection includes an exceptionally rare gold arm ring, as well a substantial silver brooch and other jewelry pieces like ancient Norse bracelets.
Because the jewelry collection includes so many personal adornments that suggest the wearer had substantial wealth, it’s likely that they belonged to somebody very affluent. For modern Viking history enthusiasts, the luxury feel of ancient Norse jewelry lies in the findings of hoards like that of the Isle of Man. For many, wearing symbolism connected with certain Norse gods like Odin, or the mythological wolf Fenrir, is a way to connect even further with their Viking heritage.
The Viggbyholm Hoard, Sweden
Just a year after the incredible Isle of Man hoard was unearthed, another remarkable discovery was made, this time in the quiet neighborhood of Viggbyholm, Sweden. Despite being around a thousand years old, the Viking jewelry that was found here in 2022 looked brand new, and consisted of well-preserved artifacts including a delicate silver ring, a finely detailed Thor’s hammer pendant and a stunning dragon-shaped brooch. Believed to have belonged to a person of high status due to the exceptional craftsmanship and the materials used, the fascinating find was the work of archaeologist and metal detectorist Therese Ekholm.
As it is in such pristine condition, the collection has baffled experts with its outstanding preservation, and it provides valuable insights into Viking craftsmanship and societal hierarchies. Experts are analyzing the artifacts to better understand the techniques and materials used in their creation, and get a unique glimpse into the sophistication and artistry of the Viking Age.
Feeling Inspired? Here’s How To Build Your Own Ancient Norse Jewelry Collection
If the allure of ancient Norse jewelry has captured your imagination, you're in for an enchanting journey. Building your own collection allows you to connect with the artistry, beliefs, and culture of the Viking age. Here's a quick guide to curating your personal trove, inspired by the remarkable discoveries we’ve explored above:
The Hiddensee Touch: Embrace the intricate elegance of Norse designs with pieces reminiscent of the Hiddensee Treasure. Seek out ornate rings and pendants adorned with geometric patterns and symbolic motifs. The Mjolnir, Thor’s hammer, holds particular significance – a symbol of strength and protection. Consider adding a sterling silver Mjolnir pendant to evoke the timeless charm of Viking mythology.
Isle of Man Opulence: Channel the affluence of the Isle of Man hoard with items that exude luxury. Focus on eye-catching pieces like a gold arm ring or a sterling silver pendant decorated with rose gold and cubic zirconia, or incorporate substantial silver brooches and bracelets reminiscent of the Viking-era collection. These pieces not only signify opulence but also a connection to a rich heritage.
Viggbyholm Elegance: Capture the pristine allure of the Viggbyholm hoard with Viking jewelry that elevates your style with crisp detailing. Opt for delicate silver rings, finely detailed pendants, and dragon-themed pieces like the truly exceptional Jormungand Midgard serpent ring. These items offer a glimpse into the craftsmanship of high-status individuals, and will help you to embrace the sophistication of Viking artistry while letting the beauty of the past shine in your collection.
As you build your collection, remember that each piece tells a story of a bygone era. Embrace the mystique and charm of ancient Norse jewelry – a tangible link to a world shaped by creativity, beliefs and enduring craftsmanship. Your collection is not just adornment, but a testament to the enduring spirit of the Norse people, carrying their legacy into the modern day.
The archaeological discoveries of ancient Norse jewelry serve as time capsules, preserving the stories of a people whose craftsmanship, beliefs and aesthetics continue to inspire wonder. Through these finds, we can unravel the threads that connect us to a distant past, immersing ourselves in the world of the Vikings and the beauty they created with their hands and hearts – who knows what your own ancient Norse jewelry collection will inspire in you?