Viking necklace

Contributed by Saffron Walden Museum

Viking necklace from a woman's grave, Saffron Walden, Essex. © Saffron Walden Museum

Burial with a necklace like this suggests a pagan Viking grave, but its owner was buried in a Christian Saxon cemeteryThis necklace has beads of glass, carnelian, crystal and silver, one plain silver pendant and two silver-gilt pendants decorated with ribbon pattern in Scandinavian style. It dates from around 875-900 AD, the time of Alfred the Great and the Danish (Viking) campaigns. The necklace was excavated in 1876 from the grounds of Hill House, home of the Gibsons, a prominent Quaker family in Saffron Walden. The site had been a cemetery in the late Saxon period, when the local population was Christian and buried without grave goods. There was one exceptional grave: a woman buried wearing this necklace, just like pagan Viking women in Scandinavia. We can only guess whether her family came to England with the Danish army, which overran East Anglia from the 870s, and if they took land by force or settled peacefully. The plain silver pendant is inscribed with a cross, perhaps a sign that the owner had accepted the Christian God of her neighbours.

Comments are closed for this object

Most of the content on A History of the World is created by the contributors, who are the museums and members of the public. The views expressed are theirs and unless specifically stated are not those of the BBC or the British Museum. The BBC is not responsible for the content of any external sites referenced. In the event that you consider anything on this page to be in breach of the site’s House Rules please Flag This Object.

About this object

Click a button to explore other objects in the timeline


late 9th to early 10th century AD


View more objects from people in Essex.

Find out more

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.