Top Ten Norse Artifacts

Top Ten Norse Artifacts

       Norsemen is used to refer to the group of people as a whole who speak one of the North Germanic languages as their native language. “Norse,” in particular, refers to the Old Norse language belonging to the North Germanic branch of Indo-European languages, especially Norwegian, Icelandic, Faroese, Swedish and Danish in their earlier forms. The meaning of Norseman was “people from the North” and was applied primarily to Nordic people originating from southern and central Scandinavia. They established states and settlements in areas which today are part of the Faroe Islands, England, Scotland, Wales, Iceland, Finland, Ireland, Russia, Italy, Canada, Greenland, France, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Germany. Norse and Norsemen are applied to the Scandinavian population of the period from the late 8th century to the 11th century. The term “Normans” was later primarily associated with the people of Norse origin in Normandy, France, assimilated into French culture and language. The term Norse-Gaels was used concerning the people of Norse descent in Ireland and Scotland, who assimilated into the Gaelic culture. Vikings has been a common term for Norsemen in the early medieval period, especially in connection with raids and monastic plundering made by Norsemen in Great Britain and Ireland.

  1. The Trundholm Sun Chariot (18th-16th Century  BC)

    The Trundholm sun chariot is a late Nordic Bronze Age artifact discovered in Denmark, that has been interpreted as a depiction of the sun being pulled by a mare that may have relation to later Norse mythology attested in 13th century sources.
    Links: Top Ten Suns, Top Ten Chariots,
  2. Seikilos Epitaph (200 BC – 100 AD)

    The Seikilos epitaph is the oldest surviving example of a complete musical composition, including musical notation, from anywhere in the world. The song, the melody of which is recorded, alongside its lyrics, in the ancient Greek musical notation, was found engraved on a tombstone, near Aidin, Turkey (not far from Ephesus). The find has been dated variously from around 200 BC to around AD 100. Also on the tombstone is an indication that states: I am a tombstone, an icon. Seikilos placed me here as an everlasting sign of deathless remembrance. While older music with notation exists (for example the Delphic Hymns), all of it is in fragments; the Seikilos epitaph is unique in that it is a complete, though short, composition.
    Links: Top 100 Songs,,
  3. Golden Horns of Gallehus

    The Golden Horns of Gallehus were two horns made of sheet gold, discovered in Gallehus, north of Møgeltønder in South Jutland, Denmark. The horns date to the early 5th century, the beginning of the Germanic Iron Age. The horns were found in 1639 and 1734 at locations only some 15–20 meters apart. They were composed of segments of double sheet gold. The two horns were found incomplete, the longer one found in 1639 has seven segments with ornaments, to which six plain segments and a plain rim were added, possibly by the 17th century restaurateur. The shorter horn found in 1734 has six segments, a narrow one bearing a Proto-Norse Elder Futhark inscription at the rim and five ornamented with images. It is uncertain whether the horns were intended as drinking horns, or as blowing horns, although drinking horns have more pronounced history as luxury items made from precious metal. The original horns were stolen and melted down in 1802. Unfortunately, casts made of the horns in the late 18th century were also lost. Replicas of the horns must thus rely on 17th and 18th century drawings exclusively and are accordingly fraught with uncertainty. Nevertheless, replicas of the original horns were produced and are exhibited at the National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen, Denmark and the Moesgaard Museum, near Aarhus, Denmark. These replicas also have a history of having been stolen and retrieved twice, in 1993 and in 2007.
    Links: Top Ten Historical Instruments,
  4. Stora Hammar Stone (600 AD)

    The Viking Age image stone in Stora Hammars, Lärbro parish, Gotland, Sweden. Depicted are scenes with mythological, religious and martial background, including a sacrifice scene with a Valknut over the altar and a longship manned with armed warriors. It has been interpreted as illustrating the legend of Hildr. The runestone includes an image of a warrior about to be hung from a tree with a Valknut nearby, considered to be Odin’s cult symbol, giving validity to reports regarding human sacrifice in Norse paganism.
    Links: Top Ten Stones/Rocks,,
  5. Gundestrup Cauldron (1st Century BC)

    The Gundestrup cauldron is a richly decorated silver vessel, thought to date to the 1st century BC, placing it into the late La Tène period. It was found in 1891 in a peat bog near the hamlet of Gundestrup, in the Aars parish in Himmerland, Denmark. It is now housed at the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen. The Gundestrup cauldron is the largest known example of European Iron Age silver work (diameter 69 cm, height 42 cm). The style and workmanship suggest Thracian origin, while the imagery seems Celtic. This has opened room for conflicting theories of Thracian vs. Gaulish origin of the cauldron. Taylor has suggested Thracian origin with influence by Indian iconography.
  6. Viking Runestones

    The Viking Runestones are runestones that mention Scandinavians who participated in Viking expeditions. This article treats the runestone that refer to people who took part in voyages abroad, in western Europe, and stones that mention men who were Viking warriors and/or died while travelling in the West. However, it is likely that all of them do not mention men who took part in pillaging. They were all engraved in Old Norse with the Younger Futhark. The largest group consists of 30 stones that mention England, and they are treated separately in the article England Runestones. The runestones that talk of voyages to eastern Europe, the Byzantine Empire and the Middle East are treated separately in the article Varangian Runestones and its subarticles. The most notable of the Viking runestones is the Kjula Runestone and it contains a poem in Old Norse in the metre fornyrðislag that refers to the extensive warfare of a man called “Spear.”
    Links: Top Ten Rocks/Stones,,
  7. Kingigtorssuaq Runestone(1250 – 1333 AD)

    The Kingigtorssuaq Runestone was found in 1824 in a cairn on top of the mountain on Kingigtorssuaq Island north of Upernavik in western Greenland. The stone is now located at the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen. The stone has been dated to the Middle Ages. The Catholic Encyclopedia states the date as April 25, 1135. William Thalbitzer dates the stone to 1314 using pentadic numerals. Others have dated the stone between 1250 and 1333.
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