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Hoards and sinous snakes: Significance and meaning of ring ornaments in Early Viking Age hoards from Gotland
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Archaeology and Ancient History.
2015 (English)In: Small things - wide horizons: Studies in honour of Birgitta Hårdh / [ed] Lars Larsson, Fredrik Ekengren, Bertil Helgesson and Bengt Söderberg, Oxford: Archaeopress, 2015, 35-42 p.Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The inflow of Islamic dirhams into the Baltic Sea zone in the 9th and 10th century has often been described as a watershed in the economic development of Northern Europe. There are reasons to believe that silver gained significance in calculated exchange relations in this transitional period. However in which ways silver was imbued with value is not clear. One interesting question to be investigated is how the medium silver became accepted as substance and as a means of payment and on which “paths” the validation of silver followed already existing concepts of value. In this paper this issue will be addressed by examining aspects of shape and ornamentation of some of the earliest silver ring types on Gotland. It is argued that the recurring pattern of spiral rings and bracelets with hourglass shaped pattern imitate snakes in different ways which links them with aspects of hoarding and wealth.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Oxford: Archaeopress, 2015. 35-42 p.
Keyword [en]
silver, hoards, Viking Age, Gotland, snakes, ornaments, dirhams, Permian neckrings, bracelets, kenning, textual archaeology, materiality
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-260793ISBN: 978 1 78491 131 7ISBN: 978 1 78491 132 4OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-260793DiVA: diva2:848489
Available from: 2015-08-25 Created: 2015-08-25 Last updated: 2015-09-08Bibliographically approved

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The full text will be freely available from 2017-08-23 11:23
Available from 2017-08-23 11:23

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Kilger, Christoph
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