As the first reader-submitted pic, my buddy Lars Lundqvist has sent me a snap of himself taken by Klas Höglund in October 1995. Lars is happy in this picture, the reason being that he’s just found the object he’s holding. It’s a large plough-mangled Continental gold neck ring of the first few centuries AD, and it’s part of the Vittene hoard.
The first part of the hoard to surface was a filigreed gold torque of the Celt-dominated final centuries BC. The finder took it home and hung it in the broom cupboard. Years passed before he finally got round to showing it to an archaeologist, our sadly departed colleague Ulf Viking. He of course promptly went apeshit over it, called in Lars and Klas, and the rest is Västergötland archaeological history.
The manufacturing dates of the gold objects from Vittene are spread out over centuries, indicating that they had accumulated at a Continental sanctuary until the place was sacked by marauding Germans in the 5th century. The ring in the picture is too large to be worn in any sensible way by people, but it would have sat quite comfortably on a cult statue. With my mentor Jan Peder Lamm I was given an opportunity to handle the hoard at the Museum of National Antiquities shortly after it was found, and I visited the site in 1998 with Ulf Viking, so I have a
special place in my heart for Vittene.
Lars has done a lot of work on the 1st Millennium central places of Västergötland, a really voluptuous central area separated from Östergötland by Lake Vättern and the wooded heights of Hökåsen. He’s also worked in Halland, directing the excavations at the famous magnate’s farm of Slöinge. He’s my kinda guy.
The Vittene project has spawned a considerable number of books, reports and papers, so I’ll confine myself to referring to the latest contribution, that happens to be in English unlike most of the others.
Rasch, Monica. 2004. The gold-treasure from Vittene in southwest Sweden. Eds Perea et al. Tecnología del oro antiguo. Europa y América. Anejos del Archivo espa˝ol de arqueología 32. Madrid.
[More blog entries about archaeology, gold, Sweden; arkeologi, guld, Västergötland.]