When they started, Viking jewelry was very modest and simply designed. As they got bolder and in trade and exploits abroad, their pieces of jewelry became even more intricate and sophisticated. Featuring symbols of their revered gods or weapons, they carved out brooches, neck rings, and armbands in metals of bronze, silver, and gold.
Short History of the Viking People
There are two or even three sides of the truth and the Vikings are a clear example of this common phrase. As opposed to what popular culture may have you believe of who and how the Viking was, a little more research reveals that their horned helmets and their unkempt dirty portrayals the movies make are far from the truth.
Viking Age is a historically significant and much-referenced to a period that has shaped a few of the present European cultural nuances. Covering all and a little bit more of the land that is today Scandinavia, Vikings who were simple farmers who lived in large clusters far apart from each other and with no general leader. They had a choice to self-govern or to elect anyone within their community.
Vikings believed in a number of gods who were worshiped and regularly referenced to for their powers in many different situations such as war, marriage, fertility and protection.
Weather and climatic conditions in the land of the Vikings were horrible and close to unbearable. Though they managed on a little farming and trade, surviving was a full-time job. Raids among these societies were common and because of a lack of adequate resources and in considerations of the growing population, men ventured out and started raiding their neighbors. Upon discovering shimmery and brighter jewelry than their own, murdering and looting became a lucrative business opportunity.
Vikings, in their own right, were fearless and quite savage and exacting in their raids. Their precision in throwing axes wan uncanny and they instilled terror in the hearts of all of Europe and because they knew this, they doubled and tripled their efforts to plunder as much jewelry, clothing, slaves and women as their ships could carry.
As staunch pagans, they had no tolerance for the Christian missionaries who had come to settle in their towns to spread the good news. Monasteries were their favorite targets for heists because they were unarmed and stocked with jewelry.
Vikings were skilled seamen who created great vessels that were both fast and durable against the harshest conditions. They were also master artisans who had long before been carving out their jewelry pieces. This exposure to the outside world opened up their talents to include more diverse and unusual designs on their rings, pendants, and armbands.
The idea that Vikings wore horned helmets is a common misconception. The truth is they wore leather or metal-framed helmets with or without the faceguard or went boldly bear head. Findings of spoons and combs indicate to a people who understood and appreciated hygiene and grooming in the face of the hard-living situations.
Their fights against and incessant raids upon Christian facilities angered the Catholics who resulted to dehumanizing them by advertising them as monsters. This however changed when Queen Victoria took the reins and the idea of the Vikings was repopulated with their horned helmets and as fierce warriors with a proud culture.
Ancient Viking Jewelry
Much of the evidence that supports notions of the Nordic people’s livelihood and practices is gathered by archeological or individual history explorers. As it was common practice for the Vikings to store or bury their treasures because of their extreme living circumstances, discoveries are made in stockpiles of a variation of jewelry from silver, gold, bronze and whether brooches, rings or arm rings, all thrown in together.
Also, due to their belief in the afterlife, they often buried their friends and family with a pile of necessities like money, clothes and any other daily necessities to keep the dead party going in their life after death. That’s why Viking burial sites are a gold mine for these findings.
These ancient findings are widely reported when they occur and are named according to the place of discovery.
1. Huxley Ancient Jewelry
It was in Cheshire County, England where 21 silver arm rings were found by a man named Steve Reynoldson who was out hunting with his metal detector. The rings from the 10th Century AD were thought to be for purpose of melting before recycling them or using them as currency in trade. Though flattened out, the intricate designs featuring a diagonal cross were visible.
2. Blackwater River Ancient Jewelry
Glen Crawford was one day in the late 1980s out with his metal detector for a strike of luck along his neighborhood’s river. The Blackwater River in Ulster Ireland had a dredging project ongoing and as parts of the river were drained, Glen seized the opportunity. He found a gold annular ring thought to belong to an ancient Viking warrior who was regularly conducting raids along riverbed cities.
3. Silverdale Ancient Jewelry
Outside Silverdale, Lancaster in England, a large batch of Viking artifacts was found by a man named Darren Webster while he was also out using his metal detector. Though he had scanned the same field tie and time again, on this day Darren found treasure beyond his expectations. The loot was sixteen inches below ground and was well worth the digging. The hoard totaled about two pounds and was inclusive of; six brooch fragments, a hundred and forty-one pieces of hack silver, two-finger rings, ten arm rings, one wire braid, twenty-seven coins and fourteen silver oblong blocks (ingots).
As dramatic as the reign of the Vikings was, not much is said about the decline of the kingdom. Based on the changing times and the evolving man, it is inevitable to conclude that this Nordic tribe was accultured and assimilated in with the emerging and increasing number of faiths, beliefs within the European community in and around 1100AD. Christianity, the very religion that they fought and murdered for is interestingly where some of this barbaric lot slipped into.
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