About things – part Three

Quick note before today’s topic: last weekend, geophysical surveys were conducted at the site of 14.9 – and I have all the intentions to present these works to you. However, before diving into the exciting world of geophysics and introducing the results from our fieldwork last weekend, I want to continue my presentation of some of the find material from the metal-detector survey at the site 😛 So, bear with me! But, in the meantime, check out the blog-entry about geophysical investigations at Kvarnbo (in Swedish) written by Dr Andreas Viberg, my expert on geophysical surveying 🙂

Animal-shaped bowl brooch from Kvarnbo (ÅM 768:9). Photo used with the courtesy of the Museum of Åland, Ålands Landskapsregering

Animal-shaped bowl brooch from Kvarnbo (ÅM 768:9). Photo used with the courtesy of the Museum of Åland, Ålands Landskapsregering

In my last post, while continuing to describe some finds from the metal-detector survey at Kvarnbo, I was into wildlife connotations 🙂 but the fact is that I left out the ultimate object associated with that theme and one of my absolute favorite finds among the ones unearthed at Kvarnbo so far – an intricately decorated brooch with intricate irregular outline shape of an animal: animal-shaped bowl brooch. It is an openwork brooch that is very flat with almost no height to it which confused me a lot before the classification. The brooch has survived only partially, but despite that fact, clearly showing traces of gilding (!) as well as inlay sockets recessed into the surface with dark-red material inside one corner of one socket (!). According to the typology by Mogens Ørsnes, in my opinion, the brooch from Kvarnbo is carrying the similar idea to the Ørsnes group O 1 a brooches (it is, in any case, a group O brooch). And combining the results of the research on such brooches, these are to be dated to the period of 700-770 AD with a greater probability of belonging to the earlier part of this time span.

I have not (yet) found direct parallels to the animal-shaped bowl brooch from Kvarnbo, and there are many indications of this object being quite so exclusive in the group of domed oblong brooches 😉 for example, considering the metalwork technique and distribution. According to Martin Rundkvistwork on domed oblong brooches, gilding mainly appear on brooches from aristocratic settings in south Scandinavia in the early part of the Vendel (/Merovingian) period being a rare technique. Also, brooches with inlay sockets recessed into the surface are singular. And these two techniques on one and the same brooch have been documented together in only three instances – now, Kvarnbo-brooch being number 4. In terms of domed oblong brooches as an artifact type, it is also noteworthy that animal-shaped bowl brooches, such as the one found at Kvarnbo, and small plain oval brooches, such as the one found at Kvarnbo and discussed in one of my earlier posts, are pretty much contemporary to each other, but reflect totally different regions. Plain brooches were clearly favored in the Lake Mälaren area and intricately decorated animal-shaped brooches in south Scandinavia. As both of these brooch-types found at Kvarnbo also demonstrate features without any know parallels, quite so fascinating picture is starting to emerge from the material 😉

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