Diameter: 7.100 cm (oval)
Weight: 40.000 g
Purchased with the assistance of the National Art Collections Fund
Britain, Europe and Prehistory
Room 41: Europe AD 300-1100
Viking, 10th-11th century AD
Found on the island of Gotland, Sweden
Female personal jewellery
Testing marks on the edges of this silver bracelet indicate that it could have been used as a bullion payment by weight for goods purchased. It would have been checked at the time of the transaction to ensure that it was solid silver and not merely of plated base metal. A Viking could not be too careful! A passage in the Saga of Olaf Tryggvason tells how the king sent the queen of Sweden a gold ring taken from the door of a pagan temple. However, she became very angry when her smiths tested it and found it contained brass.
This bracelet is decorated with relief arcading and punch-work and would have been worn on the wrist by a woman, as a sign of high social status and wealth. The silver was probably obtained from coins earned through trade. The context of the find is not recorded, but the testing marks suggest it comes from a hoard.
M. Stenberger, Die Schatzfunde Gotlands der W, vol. II (Stockholm, Lund: Hakan Ohlssons boktryckeri, 1958)