Sign of the Times? The Transfer and Transformation of Penannular Brooches in Viking-Age Norway
Ann Zanette Tsigaridas Glørstad
The paper seeks to investigate the ramifications in Viking Age Norway of the comprehensive contact with the Insular area, based on an analysis of penannular brooches. During the 7th and 8th centuries, the penannular brooch becomes a distinctive part of the Celtic jewellery tradition, associated with the elite. The most striking parallels to the Insular brooches are found in Norway. These brooches are introduced to Norway in the beginning of the 9th century, and are found almost exclusively in female burials. At the end of the century, a marked change occurs and various copies of Insular brooches are now locally produced. In the period from around 850–950, a large number of these are found in both upper-class male burials and hoards in Norway. It is argued that the transfer and alteration of these brooches could be taken as an indication of how the westward contact, especially towards Ireland and Scotland, had far-reaching consequences in Norway and was integrated into the perception and negotiation of gender, power and authority.