The Gold Bracteates of the Migration Period

The Gold Bracteates of the Migration Period are among the most intriguing finds of all Germanic history. Leaving behind the largely non-pictorial Pre-Roman and Roman Iron Age, the number and quality of figural images exploded rapidly with the beginning of the Migration Period thanks in large part to the Gold Bracteates. This wind of change had a very obvious origin: it came from the South, from the Roman Empire, the largest and longest-lasting superpower in the history of Europe.

An Old Saxon Wodan image north of Bremen

Northwest of Bremen, where the river Hunte leads into the Weser, lies the town of Elsfleth (see map in fig. 1), which has been attracting attention among archaeologists for several years. There, on an inconspicuous field in the area of the former embankment wall of the river, interesting finds have been made at regular intervals for quite some time. In addition to a large quantity of pottery, it is the countless metal finds that characterize the site called “Hogenkamp”.

Early Thor's hammer pendants outside Scandinavia

The Thor’s hammer pendants of the Viking Age are probably the best known and most popular artefacts of prehistoric heathen history. Today they are worn by millions of people all over the world, either as a sign of connection with the Nordic traditions or simply as a pieces of jewellery. Among the most famous Thor’s hammers are undoubtedly the two 10th century hoard finds from Bredsättra (Öland) and Erikstorp (Östergötland) as well as the Thor’s hammer from Skåne, for which no exact find spot is known.

Yggdrasil and the Överhogdal Tapestries

The tapestries of Överhogdal are without doubt one of the most impressive finds of the late Viking period. Their unusually good condition, the strong colours and the many figures and symbols depicted on them make them an invaluable testimony of that epoch. It is therefore all the more astonishing that the tapestries with their unique figurative imagery had been forgotten for centuries. The history of its rediscovery begins in 1909 during a renovation in the small church of Överhogdal in Härjedalen, Sweden.