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staff / spit / measuring-rod / divination-staff

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1894,1105.5

  • Description

    Iron seeress's staff, measuring-rod, or spit (?); Petersen 227 type; square section shank; openwork grip a cage of three twisted rods (only fragments remain) between two large polyhedral knobs; copper alloy ring at end; pointed end bent back in antiquity; ritually "killed"?

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 9thC(late)-10thC
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Type series

    • Petersen 227
  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 900 millimetres (round the curve)
    • Length: 660 millimetres (bent back)
  • Curator's comments

    See also 1894,1105.28-31.
    For divination-staffs, see: Gardeła, L. (2008) Into Viking Minds: Reinterpreting the Staffs of Sorcery and Unraveling Seiðr, Viking and Medieval Scandinavia 4, 45-84.
    For measuring-rods, see: Gustin, I. (2010), 'Of rods and roles. Three women in Birka's chamber graves', pp. 343-354 in C. Theune et al. (eds.), Zwischen Fjorden und Steppe, Rahden.Comment from Kidd, Haith & Ager 'Summary Catalogue' (draft MS)

    Provenance:
    Villa Farm, Vestnes sn., Romsdalsfjord, Møre og Romsdal, Norway; registration nos. 1894,1105.1-55 'all found in a tumulus' excavated March 30th, 1894; see MS transcript; associated urn not acquired

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  • Location

    On display: G41/dc25/sA

  • Exhibition history

    Exhibited:
    2013 26 Jul-16 Oct, Germany, Paderborn, Diozesanmuseum, Christianisation of Medieval Europe

  • Condition

    Secondary distortion. Mr. Ian Thackray, a traditional blacksmith, says that the iron would have had to be heated to bend it in such a curve.

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1894

  • Acquisition notes

    Excavated 1894

  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number

    1894,1105.5

Iron spit or sorcerer's staff (?); Petersen 227 type; square section shank; openwork grip a cage of twisted rods between two large polyhedral knobs; copper alloy ring at end; bent in antiquity to U-shape; ritually "killed"?

3/4: Above

Iron spit or sorcerer's staff (?); Petersen 227 type; square section shank; openwork grip a cage of twisted rods between two large polyhedral knobs; copper alloy ring at end; bent in antiquity to U-shape; ritually "killed"?

Image description

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Object reference number: MCS5724

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