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Silver, Butter, ClothMonetary and Social Economies in the Viking Age$
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Jane Kershaw, Gareth Williams, Søren Sindbæk, and James Graham-Campbell

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198827986

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198827986.001.0001

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A Viking Age Gold Hoard from Essu, Estonia

A Viking Age Gold Hoard from Essu, Estonia

Context, Function, and Meaning

(p.145) 8 A Viking Age Gold Hoard from Essu, Estonia
Silver, Butter, Cloth

Ester Oras

Ivar Leimus

Lauri Joosu

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents in full the small gold hoard from Essu, north-east Estonia, on the Vikings’ Austrvegr (eastern route). The hoard was found in a peat bog in the nineteenth century, and comprised six gold pendants dating to around the last quarter of the ninth century. This chapter provides a detailed analysis of the six pendants—one Arabic dinar-pendant and five pendants decorated with filigree and granulation—discussing their decoration and cultural parallels. Results from recent Scanning Electron Microscopy-Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy (SEM-EDS) analysis cast new light on the pendants’ production, alloy content, and use-wear. It is suggested that the filigree pendants were manufactured within Scandinavia and originally formed part of an elaborate female necklace, while the dinar-pendant reached Estonia via the Nordic countries. Overall, the hoard illustrates the prominence of gold within the Viking Age display economy. The chapter concludes by discussing the significance of the hoard from a gender perspective, relating it to a wider group of Viking Age ritual deposits of gold female jewellery sets (so-called ‘themed deposits’).

Keywords:   Essu hoard, Estonia, gold, pendants, dinars, Austrvegr (eastern route), ritual deposit, display economy, gender, themed deposits

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