Viking closet part 3

Its all about the bling

The most common items found in viking graves and other viking excavations were jewelry and gold. As most of us know vikings as the dirty, smelly brutes that went looting and pillaging every village in sight, that doesn’t come as a surprise. However besides pillaging vikings were skilled craftsmen and traders travelling most of the known world selling both goods (like jewels and clothing) but also slaves they had acquired in their pillaging and plundering.

Jewels and gold were the only way to show your wealth and status in the viking age, the only way you could tell the Jarl (this is thought to be the early word for earl, you can hear its somewhat similar) apart from the farmers were his jewelry and gold. They wore brooches, armbands, rings and brooches to show off how rich they were, even their combs would be adorned with bronze of silver. The vikings main export item was amber and amber jewels are often found in excavations, mostly as beads.

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all amber jewels

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How would you show your wealth

As I mentioned in Viking closet part 1 women would wear beads between their brooches, the more strands of beads and amulets you had the wealthier you were. These brooches were worn to keep up the hangerok, they came in all sorts of shapes depending on the timeline.

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From those brooches women would hang all sorts of things, like needle cases, knives, scissors, tweezers, ear spoons ( yes they do what you think they do), amulets for both protection and beauty, keys and combs.

 

There were of course other kinds of brooches, like the tri lobed brooch which was mostly used to fasten a kaftan or to close an open collar.

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Mine has a small ring to attach an amulet

The simplest brooch was a fibula, this had been around since roman times and was still worn a lot by vikings. They came in all shapes, materials and sizes like most things.DSCN7696

Arm rings were worn to show wealth or to be used as payment. Some silver bracelets and rings were found with the sole purpose of being a payment method to which archaeologists refer as ring money.

Belts and belt pouches would not escape the “bedazzling” hand of the vikings and even these items were adorned with small bronzen,silver or golden artworks.

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my husband went all out on his belt and pouch

Last but not least, amulets. These items were worn as protection but of course not a single opportunity was lost to show off ones wealth so the more elaborate and the more expensive the material, the better.DSCN7703

Thor hammers were the most common amulets worn by vikings, it is believed that this was worn to counter the christian cross ,but I don’t know the truth of it some say yes, others say no.

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