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Imported Material

In 1981 at the Borg Heights the local farmer found pieces of broken glass and pottery-shards (shards of ceramic jugs) from central-Europe reckoned to be more than 1000 years old. Such artifacts were previously unknown in Norway, and show contact with the Continent.

In Norway, imported artefacts similar to those from Borg have only been found at Kaupang in the South.

Excavations from 1986-1989 revealed shards of imported glass vessels of the Late Iron Age, a material found only once north of the Arctic Circle. Together with the glass, the first example of imported pottery from this period was found. These artefacts are regarded as indications of high social status and of long-distance connections. Thus, from the beginning, Borg was regarded as a possible chieftain's farm, and therefore a central place. This theory is supported with the occurrence of large boat-house foundations at Borg.

It is probable that the artefacts imported from the Continent and from the British Isles can be regarded as symbols of power and prestige. Still, it is difficult to decide whether the objects reached Borg as exchange of gifts or within the framework of trade. Anyway it seems more likely that these items came to Borg through a very long span of time, from the sixth to the tenth century.

This tiny filigreed work of art in gold is perhaps the tip of a priest's pointer, used to turn the pages of sacred scriptures. The artifact shows first-class craftsmanship.

Bird in amber, probably a pendant for a necklace or an amulet. Both jet and amber were valuable raw materials, to a varying extent indicating social status. Amber was imported from the Baltic area.

The neck of the bird is bent backwards, thus forming a circle between neck and body, in which the bird balances. This possibly indicates that it was used as a pendant, like many other small sculptures.

 

photo
beads
Beads from the continent

Imported glass-vessel

glass vessel

Tating-ware jug. These jugs are often decorated with a cross. They might have been used in connection with ritual hand-washing during the Christian service. Christianity had already gained a stronghold in other parts of Europe.

But what was the jug being used for at Borg? Ritually in the pagan cult, as a status symbol, or was it just an exotic wine-jug?

 

 

Mayo - Vestvågøy - Mid-Argyll

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