Urban Crafts and Oval Brooches: Style, Innovation and Social Networks in Viking Age Towns

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This paper discusses technological and stylistic variations in copper-alloy workshops in Viking Age towns. In the decades around year 800 a cluster of new technologies, art styles and object types, including the characteristic oval brooches, were adopted across Scandinavia. Shared details of technology indicate close communication between workshops in Ribe and Birka, yet craftspeople cultivated styles which were specific to the particular town. However, the distribution of the products is not confined to specific regions. The persistence of the stylistic choices is suggested to be a marker of professional identity among craftspeople. This could indicate that the first urban craftspeople in Scandinavia were communities with a sense of civic identity, rather than itinerant cosmopolitans.
Original languageEnglish
JournalProceedings of the Viking Congresses
Pages (from-to)407-421
Number of pages15
StatePublished - 2011
EventSixteenth Viking Congress - Reykjavík, Reykholt, Iceland
Duration: 17 Aug 200917 Aug 2009


ConferenceSixteenth Viking Congress
CityReykjavík, Reykholt
OtherViking Age - cultural and other changes - 10th century - Scandinavia

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