Saturday, May 12, 2007

Oseberg Tripod - Interpretations

Karen suggested (as a comment to the last entry) the use of the Oseberg tripod as a kind of formal 'serving station'

I think she may also be weaving in another tid bit that we both are aware off that may not be known to the group here. Dr. Birgitta Wallace and I have had many long conversations over pots and status. It is her opinion that the medium sized bronze pots (like those found in Mastermyr) were used to heat and serve wine in. This would certainly be a very high end presentation, with the use of a rather expensive specialized object. The cost of the imported wine or difficult to produce mead would also be a display of wealth and gracious hosting.

My counter to this has always been that the main pot from Mastermyr (the cylinder with the slightly dished bottom) was actually described as containing 'food residue'. Certainly suggesting sometimes food was also prepared in that style of pot.

This is a copy of the primary excavation report drawing showing the placement of the tripod and cauldron as they were found in Oseberg. It is scaled, so this may be of great interest to any metalworkers out there.

In the burial, the tripod was found folded. The pot is nearby, but appears to have been laid on its side. This suggests it may have been empty when laid in the burial.

I mention this as I would * expect * that if the tripod and cauldron combination to have been used for formal serving, that in a burial it would have been set up with a food offering. (I am quite aware of the problem with any such * assumptions *)

So Karen's suggestion of the tripod as a piece of high class serving equipment is not to be discounted. Given the technical limits on its use over a fire, her interpretation certainly should be considered.

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February 15 - May 15, 2012 : Supported by a Crafts Projects - Creation and Development Grant

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