15 Pages

Goldsmiths’ Tools at Hedeby

WithBarbara Armbruster

Hedeby was one of the most important urban settlements in northern Europe during the Viking Age. Metalworking tools are known from important sites such as Hedeby, Ribe, Lund, Sigtuna, Birka, Borgeby and Kaupang, at the Danish fortresses of Fyrkat and Trelleborg, as well as from Viking settlements outside Scandinavia. Gold and silver jewellery, ingots, fragments, scrap metal and unfinished products indicate the presence of a goldsmithing workshop at the site. New finds have enlarged the group of goldsmith’s tools since then: an isolated find from Hedeby, Germany, an unfinished casting bearing the casting jet from Vestergade, near Odense, Denmark, two dies from Tisse, Denmark, and two finds from Uppakra, Sweden. The real level of goldsmiths’ production and the extent of circulation of precious metal objects in Viking-period society are difficult to estimate. Metalworking implements from Hedeby testify to the equipment of goldsmiths’ workshops where highly specialized artisans manufactured sophisticated filigree and granulation jewellery.