Extraordinary find: gilded silver figure from the 9th century

13. June 2014 | The Viking Museum Ladby

Revninge-kvinden. Forgyldt sølvfigur fra 800-tallet.

The Viking period often seems very long ago, and it's hard to imagine what people looked like back then. The discovery of a little figure of a woman in silver cuts down the distance through time to the Danes' ancestors in Viking times. The figure has many details that give us new knowlegde about Viking women's clothing, jewellery and culture.

The find called the "Revninge Woman" is a genuine sensation, since it puts a face and a body on the Viking times.

According to Claus Feveile, archaeologist, department for Landscape and Archaeology at the Museums of Eastern Funen:

"Small figures depicting people from the Viking era are extremely rare. The Revninge Woman's clothing is unusually detailed and will, without any doubt, contribute to the discussion about what clothing could look like in that period. At her waist, she is wearing a trifoiled brooch. Its placement at her waist is rather surprising, since we usually see it, in burials, placed up on the chest. What is extremely unusual is the figure's head, which is in 3D, while the body is flad, in 2D. Normally this type of small figure is in 2D.

The figure

The little woman is 4.6 cm. high, made of solid silver and then gilded. The body is flat and two-dimensional, while the head, quite unusually, is three-dimensional. Through the figure's neck, there are small holes, showing that the figure was worn as a pendant. The face has finely drawn features. The hair is parted in the middle and pulled tightly back into a little bun. She holds her hands before her on her belly. Her dress has long arms and reaches down to her feet, which peek out below. Each part of her costume is separately defined with either grooves, rows of beads or stamped circles.

Around her neck, she wears what appears to be a large necklace, perhaps beaded or of gold, showing several rows. Between her hands, in the middle of her belly, there is a brooch that looks like many well-known finds of Viking trifoiled brooches. In Viking graves, they are normally placed on the chest, but here the brooch is placed differently, on the belly.

The figure is dated to the 9th century.

From May 28 and the whole summer, the Revninge Woman will be on display at the Viking Museum at Ladby, where everyone can come and see the more than 1100 year old lady.


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