It is a three dimensional depiction of a woman, cast in silver. The bottom of the figure has been broken off (thought to be plow damage from working the field it was discovered in).
|The Harby 'Valkyre' - click to see the published image size (!)|
(Metal) Detectorist Morten Skovsby found the ... figurine late last year at Hårby on Funen, (Central Denmark)
Go to the report
Pulling a couple of the starting comments from the Norsefolk2 discussion group:
On 09/01/2013 04:24, Hilde wrote:The first rush was divided into to main topics:
Hopefully, a high quality scan will be available some time in the future.
On Tue Jan 8, 2013 6:15 Charles wrote:
This is where the fun starts, now begins the search for archaeology to back up the outfit worn by the figure.
The need is there to make this more than an artistic representation.
1) Depiction of female with sword and shield - 'proof' of women in combat.
2) Deciphering details of the clothing.
There is a gap between the falling hair and the back of the neck. Much was being made of this : A pendant? Hung as a ritual object* ?
( Of course since the bottom of the dress line is broken, we can not tell if the piece was flat based to sit on a table, or might have once had details of the feet.)
But before we go too far - Look at another object from the Viking Age which has also been examined and argued about in minute detail:
Now - a reality check. Take a look at this image:
|'Warrior' - click for detail|
This is actually one of those 30 mm cast tin alloy miniatures so many of us used for war game / Dungeons & Dragons playing 'back in the day' (and still may do, for I know).
But before you start to attempt to determine all those fine details - Let's try something first:
The following is a comment by Cathy Raymond. I have come to know Cathy as a measured and intelligent voice on the Norsefolk descussion :
I agree with your basic point that it's hard to derive such detail from these tiny figures.What Cathy says is in fact quite true. I did want to expand a bit, and mention the work of another friend, Dr. Michele Hayeur Smith :
However, our other sources of information about Viking and Vendel era costume are so limited that there's no option but to try. Surviving textiles from graves and other sources are tiny and sparse, and surviving garments almost vanishingly rare (I can think of only three or four that are complete or close to it--a shirt, a sock, a cap, and a scarf with human head hair found in it).
An expert on Icelandic and Scandanavian textiles, Michele Hayeur Smith will explore current research on archaeological textile collections from ten Viking Age (AD 874-1100) mortuary sites and eleven settlements from the medieval period (AD 1100-1600), as well as medieval records, to shed new light on age-old associations between female embodiment and power in Norse culture and their transformations through time. Her interdisciplinary work integrates art, narrative, textile production, gender, power, and fertility.
Co-sponsored by the Women's and Gender Studies Program
Anthropology Distinguished Lecture
Bridgewater State University
Michele has spent many trips over the last several years looking through what she jokingly describes as 'filthy brown rags' - pieces of Icelandic textiles. Largely not assessed, she has discovered a large number of these fragmentary textiles are much older than previously thought.