About things – part Four

In some sense, all the prehistoric artefacts unearthed and/or documented at the site of Sa 14.9 are important in building our understanding of the site, and are definitely worthy of special, focussed attention. However, some objects have more informational value than others. It is therefore I am not singularly spotlighting f.ex the massive copper alloy pin or a small copper alloy washer or a simple bronze buckle, etc – quite so modest objects also dating most likely to the Late Iron Age and documented during the metal detector survey at Kvarnbo. Instead, I emphasize the artefacts with the potential of extracting much more versatile information. At the same time, all archaeological research takes time, concentration, and persistence; I cannot hope to present complete analysis of the findings from Kvarnbo just some weeks after their discovery. Thus, describing the selected findings of the investigations, at this stage, I am more or less pointing out their value for the research on the Late Iron Age on the Åland islands. And in doing this, I could absolutely not leave out aesthetically the most beautiful object 🙂 unearthed during the metal detector survey at Kvarnbo – an elaborately decorated finger ring.

Decorated silver finger ring from Kvarnbo (ÅM 768:7). Photo used with the courtesy of the Museum of Åland, Ålands Landskapsregering

Decorated silver finger ring from Kvarnbo (ÅM 768:7). Photo used with the courtesy of the Museum of Åland, Ålands Landskapsregering

The finger ring is silver and consists of a broad ovoid strip (with max width of 14 mm) tapering sharply at each end to narrow wire terminals that are twisted together to a flattened spiral/knot. The ring is very tightly decorated on all of its length. On either side of a median rib of small rectangular indentations and in-between the outer edge ribs of small rectangular indentations the ring is decorated with two closely-spaced rows of interlocking punched triangles with triple pellets in each. The median rib ceases at the shoulders and triangles merge. The back is plain. Both the form of the ring and the punched pellets-in-triangle decoration are typical of Viking jewellery of the 9/10th – 11th centuries AD. However, the ring from Kvarnbo has by far the most accurately executed decoration when compared to similar rings and holds a very high artisanal and artistic craftsmanship quality. As this kind of decoration has been done using stamps, theoretically, comparing and measuring the pellets-in-triangle ornament one could find other objects made by the same craftsman – wouldn’t that be awesome?! 🙂

It is not out of the context to note here that during the metal detector survey at Kvarnbo, pieces of bronze clips were documented on the northern side of the longhouse indicating metal crafts in the vicinity 😉

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