Friday, March 30, 2018

Viking Age Ring Headed Pins

I have just finished a small order for a pair of replica Ring Headed Pins.
These are destined for Mystic Seaport, part of an upcoming special exhibit:

Science, Myth, and Mystery: The Vinland Map Saga
May 19, 2018-September 30, 2018
R.J. Schaefer Gallery

Replicas - click for expanded view
Replicas - Life Size (10cm)
(Resin Copy of) Vinland Pin : as seen for 'Full Circle - First Contact' (1)
Vinland Ring Pin (artifact)
Of interest may be this sample:

click for expanded view
Life sized = about 20 cm
This third object is an artifact on display at the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh (photograph taken August 2017). It was described as 'Bronze Ring Pin, found in Christianized Viking Burial' (no date given)
In addition to the much greater size, the head is more of a flattened square, with the attachment loop at right angles to the thinner dimension. The difference between the upper cylindrical and lower tapered square cross sections is less pronounced than the Vinland artifact.

These ring headed pins are found widely through Norse Scotland, Ireland and in Iceland. The general dating is around 1000 AD.

This makes the finding of the single bronze pin at L'Anse aux Meadows significant. It is the single object that not only places the occupation to Norse, but also to the late Viking Age. This dating was already suggested by the chronology of the Sagas describing the voyages to Vinland - but also matched closely the carbon 14 dates provided from wood samples at the same layer.

Mystic Seaport will also be hosting  :

The Vikings Begin

Treasures from Uppsala University, Sweden

May 19 - September 30

1) Photo Credit = 'McArey' (via internet search)
Note that that web site contains an almost complete visual record of the objects from L'Anse aux Meadows seen in the 2000 exhibit 'Full Circle - First Contact'

Note : At time of writing, I remain uncertain if  'The Vikings Begin' is the next showing of an exhibit currently touring North America. Originally titled 'They Call Them VIKINGS', it was created by the Swedish History Museum. The Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto was the most recent showing (November 4, 2017 - April 2, 2018).
I have had three occasions to view that specific exhibit (also working as a costumed interpreter at the ROM opening weekend). 
One of the major problems with the presentation is that there is none of the normal supporting documentation available. There is nothing on the SHM web site, there is no exhibit catalogue available.
A second problem is that this exhibit has changed its title at almost every hosting institution mounting it.

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

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