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The bead in the sieve

Yesterday a small surprise appeared in one of our sieves: a glass bead! 

The bead in the hand of its finder, Ingvild. Photo: Margrethe K. H. Havgar

Glass beads are fairly common in the Iron Age, and fragments of two blue glass beads were found during the 2019 investigations. This is, however, the first decorated glass bead we have found here at Gjellestad this year. It’s safe to say that we were all excited!

The bead fragment is 1,4 x 0,9 x 0,5 cm in size. Photo: Margrethe K. H. Havgar

About a quarter of the bead is preserved. It is made of black glass with inlays in other colors. Originally it was in all likelihood roughly spherical. Along the perforation are two eyes with central dots in white glass, surrounded by light blue-turquoise glass. Lines in yellow and red glass encircle one eye, while only yellow glass is preserved around the other eye. Along the center of the bead runs a straight white line, with an irregular white wave line below.

Photo: Margrethe K. H. Havgar

We have not been able to securely date the bead yet, but we suspect that it might be from the late 900s AD, meaning the late Viking Age. 

As it was found while sifting the plough soil, we cannot say with certainty that it is from the Gjellestad ship. The geo-radar analysis that first discovered the Gjellestad ship also showed that there have been other grave mounds on this field, and so the bead might also come from one of these.

In any case, this bead is a lovely find that we are excited to study further.

Photo: Margrethe K. H. Havgar


Tags: Gjellestad 2020 (english) By Margrethe K. H. Havgar
Published July 15, 2020 3:05 PM - Last modified Jan. 20, 2021 1:35 PM