The Object Recounts – The Story of a Viking Age Artifact

Created in the year 818 in a forge in Ireland. The blacksmith opens the mold, and an ornate piece of bronze is revealed. Only finishing touches and the mounting of the gemstone remains before the piece is ready to adorn the cover of the Holy Book at the abbey church altar.

The year 847. The Irish monastery is looted and set on fire. The Viking wedges his knife underneath the bronze ornament and breaks the whole piece from the book cover. Egil holds it in his hand for a moment, admiring the red gemstone and the shining animal figures surrounding it. “Sigrid is getting this!”

The year 848. Egil can’t even eat, as the fever rages through his body. He realises that he won’t be able to return home in the spring. “Give this to Sigrid when you get home,” he says, “make sure she gets it – promise me!” Hallgrim promises. As he leaves his dying friend, he looks down at the object and the beautiful red stone. He grabs the knife from this belt and uses the tip to pry the stone loose. Maybe he can finally pay the fine after his holmgang with Torstein.

The year 849, in the mountain village of Oppdal. A young woman carrying a small girl exits the house. Hallgrim immediately sees the face of his dead friend in the child. He has been dreading passing on the death message and the bronze piece, and now he bitterly regrets his own greed back in Dublin, where he removed the stone. Sigrid’s stone.

The year 883. A woman’s loving hand rests over her mother’s on her deathbed. The mother has told Ingrid the story of the remarkable bronze piece. Ingrid experiences a sense of loss and a connection to the father she never met. She decides to take the item to the blacksmith. He can attach a pin to the back. Ingrid will wear it as a piece of jewellery on her cape to honour her father.

The year 911. The burial mound is completed, built over Ingrid’s funeral pyre. She fell to the same fever that killed her father across the ocean many years ago. She is buried in her most exquisite dress, with expensive jewellery and pearls placed on her chest. The fire and the sacrificial horses have aided her on her journey to the other side. The remains of the pyre will rest here, beneath the mound, forever.

The year 1989. A violent winter storm has toppled several pine trees at the Vang site, and one of the roots has unearthed a magnificent sword. The damaged mound must be excavated to secure its contents and document the grave. The archaeologist gently lifts the worn and verdigrised piece of metal she just uncovered. Intricate patterns are evident on its surface. She immediately realises that this is a very unusual piece – both the shape and décor are foreign to these lands. “How did this beautiful piece of jewellery find its way to Oppdal?” she wonders.