Denmark

Category archives for Denmark

Guldgubbar are tiny pieces of gold foil with (usually) embossed motifs. They most commonly depict single men, then embracing couples, then single women, all in fine clothing. They date from the Vendel Period (540-790) and seem to have been religious artefacts. Usually they are found in the remains of elite residences, concentrating in and around…

Smørenge is one of the sites on Bornholm that keeps yielding mid-1st-millennium gold mini-figurines. But in addition to the 2D representations on embossed gold foil known as guldgubber, an artisan employed by the magnate family at Smørenge also made nude 3D figurines. The fifth of these was found by one of the island’s famously skilful…

Another one of the rare production dies for 6/7/8th century gold foil figures has come to light, again on Zealand! This is an unusual design depicting a lady from the front. She’s wearing a long dress, a cloak and two bead strings. She seems to be cupping her hands around a ring at her abdomen.…

New Dates for the Bronze Age

When I was an undergrad in 1990 we were taught that all six periods of the Scandinavian Bronze Age were 200 (or in one case 300) years long. The most recent radiocarbon work shows that they all had different lengths and were more likely 130-280 years long. And the periods with the most abundant metalwork…

Best Danefae of 2012

Most prosperous countries have legislation for what kinds of archaeological finds a citizen has to hand in to the authorities. In Denmark, still using a Medieval term, such finds are termed danefae, “property of the dead”. And here is Danish TV4’s list of the top-10 such finds of 2012. All but one of them have…

Valkyrie Figurine From Hårby

Etymologically speaking, ”valkyrie” means ”chooser of the slain”. The job of these supernatural shield maidens in Norse mythology is to select who dies on the battlefield and guide their souls to Odin’s manor, where they will spend the afterlife training for the Twilight of the Gods, the final battle against the forces of chaos. After…

New Migration Period Hoard

A few weeks ago my friend Tobias Bondesson and his fellow amateur detectorists Iohannes M. Sundberg and Tommy Olesen found a 3.5 kg silver and gold hoard from the 5th century AD near Roskilde in Denmark. They reported their find to the town museum, the hoard was lifted by experts and excavations are ongoing. This…

Yesterday I went to Jutish Viborg by train, plane and bus. This took a bit less than eight hours. Exiting Aalborg airport into the icy sleet I managed to walk straight into the glass wind breaker outside the turnstile, banging my forehead and knee. Everybody around studiously avoided noticing my antics. On arriving in Viborg…

The Dancing Beasts of Hvirring

Here’s a cool new detector find from Hvirring in central Jutland, Denmark. I’ve never seen a piece like this before: measuring only 45 mm in length, it must be a top mount for something – box, horse yoke, staff? But the motif, four dancing gripping beasts, and the style they’re executed in, place the thing…

Recent Archaeomags

Here’s a quick look at the most recent windfall of popular archaeomags that has reached my big black mailbox. I’ve decided to terminate a few of the complimentary subscriptions, so these rundowns will be shorter and/or less frequent in the future. If you want, Dear Reader, you can check back at the five instalments I’ve…