Goldsmiths, Patrons, and Women: Typology, Chronology, and the Social Life of Early Medieval Scandinavian Jewelry


ACLS Fellowship Program




Pendant gold jewelry called bracteates have been found primarily in Scandinavia and dated to the Migration Period (fifth and sixth centuries A.D.). This project 1) examines the role of minor arts during this period; 2) investigates migration and the dispersal of Scandinavian bracteates throughout Europe; 3) sheds light on jewelry as markers of prestige, ethnicity, and gender in Scandinavian culture, considering the individuals who made, purchased, gave, and wore these artworks; and 4) illuminates workshop practice of this anonymous art through microscopic examination of tool traces and establishment of an absolute chronology based on find combinations. Thus, this study moves beyond the usual typological and iconographic focus of bracteate studies to describe the social life of these objects.