Polyhedrical weight. 9/10th century. Photograph Tobias Bondesson.
(Martin here, posting from the hostel of Norsholm on the Göta canal, using my handheld and the cell phone network. To get the post on-line, my dear scibling Janet has kindly agreed to act as go-between.)
Coin struck for Heinrich II, King of Germany. Mainz 1002-1014. Dbg 785. Photograph Tobias Bondesson.
This is the third April in as many years that I’m reporting from a week of fieldwork in Östergötland with my metal detector buddies. I intend this to be the final expedition before I complete my book about late-1st Millennium aristocratic manors.
Like last year I began my trip here nervously, driving from Fisksätra through late-coming snow on summer tyres. But I made it fine to Hov parish on Lake Tåkern, where I met the guys and no snow was to be seen. Our site in Hov has a lot of elite indications from around AD 1100, and I was gambling on finding a previously unknown aristocratic prehistory too. (My project halts at AD 1000.) We did 20 man-hours of detecting, and though I can’t really say the gamble paid off, we did find some very fine 11th century stuff that may extend into the 10th as well.
Frag of an Urnes-style brooch. C. 1100. Photograph Tobias Bondesson.
We have a perfectly preserved polyhedrical weight of 9/10th century date, of the tiny type used to weigh silver on a balance. We have two 11th century silver coins: one a German Otto-Adelheid penny and the other a really weird one
that may be Polish or Hungarian if new crew member Tobias’s hunch is right. We have a fragment of a Urnes-style silver brooch from c. 1100. These things, widely scattered, suggest an 11th century market site.
13th-14th century? Photograph Tobias Bondesson.
From the 13th and 14th centuries we have a dress spangle (Sw. ströning), a little strap buckle and a funny pewter cross.
Coin struck for Ernst August the Elder, Duke of Hanover, Prince-Bishop of Osnabrück, etc. etc. German. 17th century. Photograph Tobias Bondesson.
After wrapping up in Hov we went to a location in Vretakloster parish which has been suggested as a cargo transfer site for river traffic in my period of study. 11 man-hours there did not turn up any evidence to support that idea, but we did pick up a few fun bits. We have another High Medieval strap buckle, a 17th century
Dutch (?) silver coin bearing the legend “[la]bora.qvae.honesta…” and a piece of something that looks like a Viking Period copper-alloy disc brooch.
Frag of Viking Period disc brooch? Photograph Tobias Bondesson.
All in all a fruitful day’s work, and a lot of fun despite inclement weather.
Photograph Tobias Bondesson.
Update 13 April: Explains expedition member Tobias Bondesson, regarding the 17th century silver coin: “The ‘Dutch’ one is actually German and minted by Ernst August the Elder, i.a. Prince-Bishop of Osnabrück, and Duke of Hanover. His family motto was SOLA BONA QUAE HONESTA (roughly HONESTY ABOVE ALL). Haven’t found an exact match for the coin yet … I believe the denomination is 4 Mariengroschen.” The coin bears the coat of arms of Osnabrück, featuring a wheel. Swedish emissaries had signed the Peace of Westphalia in that city in 1648.
Update 24 April: Professor Jörn Staecker tells me that the pewter cross is certainly not 11th-13th century, but probably 15th-16th century. He mentions grave slabs in the churches of Gotland that show similar motifs.