Pagan Lady's Necklace

Contributed by Manx National Heritage

Pagan Lady's Necklace © Manx National Heritage

The grave of the Pagan Lady of Peel Castle is one of the richest Viking Age female burials outside of Scandinavia.Around 950 AD, a female was buried with her worldly goods on the Isle of Man. From a time when Vikings ruled the land and seas, it is more common to find male burials with status symbols. However, the Pagan Lady was buried in a Christian cemetery with this fine necklace.

The beads came from far and wide - Britain and Europe - and some were 300 years old when the Pagan Lady wore the necklace.

The burial demonstrates not only the real existence of powerful and high status females in a period of history that is usually dominated by the males, but also the ancient appreciation of ornamentation, of personal decoration - of pretty things. A question remains over who she was.

Other burial goods have been interpreted as domestic trappings - she was the head of the home. But perhaps she was also something else - a wise woman, a healer, a shaman.

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