In November I visited Hämeenlinna (the castle Häme in the town Hämeenlinna in Finland) and pretty much near-exclusively visited in order to see the necklace artefact that I based my A&S project on when I made a necklace inspired by it.
Quotes are taken verbatim from the display – there are some grammatical errors, but I’m just pleased that there was an English explanation to begin with!
All of these photos were taken from a poster-display (so sorry for the reflection in some cases) which showed silver artefact finds from the Hämeenlinna area. The poster discussed both the necklace they had on display, as well as another. The display did not mention where that necklace is currently stored.
“Hoards of Silver
A total of 10 hoards of silver objects are known from Tavastia. These are caches of precious metals buried in the ground containing Eastern and Western silver coins, silver brooches and fragments and in some cases ingots of silver for raw material. In Tavastia the silver hoards are dated to the 11th century at which time large amounts of precious metals were brought into the Baltic region by the Vikings. The hoards indicate the economic wealth of Tavastia, but also insecure conditions at the time.”
According to Wikipedia, Tavastia is the name of a historical province in southern Finland. (In Swedish it was called Tavastland; Finnish: Häme; Russian: Yam or Yemi. The area which was once in the province, is now within five different Finnish regions.
Since it’s pretty hard to read, I’ve typed out the text above- however I found the bottom of my photo hard to read, and note that there may be spelling mistakes on my part. (If you find errors, please leave me a note in the comments with corrections.)
“Silver hoard finds from Tavastia
1. Aalonen, Toijala (former Akaa)
Two imitations of Arabian coins, objects of silver and bronze.
2. Luurila, Pelkola in Hattula
126 silver coins, silver ornaments
3. Ellilä, Pekola in Hattula.
175 silver coins, two silver pendants
4. Lehdesmäki in Hauho
Silver necklace with 16 silver coins and two silver ornaments as pendants
5. Linnanierni (Varikkoriemi) in Hämeenlinna
Silver necklace with nine silver coins and four silver ornaments as pendants. 56 silver coins, a silver pennannular brooch, two beads of silver filigree, and two axe-shaped pendant ornaments
6. Kipula in Janakkala
Fragments of a silver necklace
7. Paturi, Turenki in Janakkala
Silver coins, silver ornaments
8. Jana, Kuokkala in Lempäälä
Silver coins of which only four have been obtained by the National Museum
9. Pappila in Pälkäne
More than a hundred silver coins, a silver necklace
10. Läntinen Seikasaari in Varikkoriemi (former Sälikmäki)
25 silver coins”
I’ve marked the necklaces mentioned above in red. It would be nice to learn a bit more about the situations in which the hoards were found – but at least in naming them as hoards, they are distinguished from grave finds or rubbish sites. It raises questions about the timing of the hiding of the wealth, and the political/social/environmental/religious situation that happened at the time to warrant creating the silver hoard.
Was the hoard a ‘sacrifice’ to the deities being worshipped? Were the coins and other valuable goods being hidden for safekeeping?
The overall poster (pictured below) does not match with numbers the listing with the map (pictured above). I’ve retained the numbers from the posters rather than re-numbering them.
“1-2 Anglo-Saxon silver coins of Ethelred II (978-1016) from the silver hoard of Ellilä in Hattula.”
“3 Silver chain with pendants, Lehdesmäki in Hauho. The hoard was found in 1855 in a field at Lehdesmäki in Hauho. The original version consisted of a chain with an Easter silver coin on each link. In this condition it reached the Baltic Sea area possibly from Central Russia, Bolgaria which was an centre of Arabian crafts and trade in the Viking Period. The Arabian coins were minted e.g. in Tashkent, Nisabut, Samarqand, Badahshan, and Suwar, a town in the principality of the Bolgars. Three of the coins in the neck chain are copies of Samanid coins, possibly made in Bulgaria. The Western European (English, German, and Swedish) coins have been added somewhere in the Baltic region. On the basis of the coins the hoard is dated to the 11th century A.D.”
“4-5 Linnaniemi, Hämeenlinna – a pendant from both sides. An eastern coin, a dirhem, from the time of the Abbasid dynasty. It was coined at Madinat al-Salam (modern Baghdad) in the year 300 according to the Mohammedan calendar (A.D. 912/913)”
“6 Details of the neck chain of Linnaniemi, Hämeenlinna. The origin of the pendant with plant motifs is Hungarian.”
“7 The heart-shaped pendant of the Linnaniemi chain is Persian silver work. Next to it on the right is a Danish penning of Sven Estridsen (1047-76) coined in Lund.”
“8 Detail of the middle section of the Lehdesmäki, Hauho chain, on the left side a Swedish penning of Anund Jakob (ca. A.D. 1022 – 1055). The coin was minted in Situna ca. A.D. 1030. Normally coins are round but this piece was exceptionally struck on a square flan.”
“9 The silver disc at the terminal of the Lehdesmäki, Hauho neck ornament was originally a part of a Persian silver bowl.”
The poster display included the Lehdesmäki, Hauho necklace – which has the large ornament at one end, and has mostly three lengths of chain connected by rings, and the Linnaniemi, Hämeenlinna necklace, which in the past I’ve referred to mostly as the Hämeenlinna necklace. This has more variety in pendants (heart-shaped, triangle, lunula) and has only double-lengths of chain connected by rings.
The Tavastia-map notes also include a fragment of a silver necklace from Kipula in Janakkala, and a silver necklace from Pappila in Pälkäne – information and photos of these were not included in the display however, and this might be a point for further research. In the section below, a fifth necklace is mentioned, found in Hämeenkoski, though again, no information is available here. Without photos (or at least descriptions) it’s unknown if these additional three necklaces are similar in style to the other two hoard necklaces.
The necklace the museum/castle has on display is the Linnaniemi, Hämeenlinna hoard find, and they had a bit of additional information about it, as follows:
Linnaniemi, Hämeenlinna necklace
“The silver hoard of Linnaniemi in Hämeenlinna
The hoard of Linnaniemi was found in 1895 in Varikkoniemi, opposite Häme Castle. It includes a necklace, 56 Western and Eastern silver coins, a penannular brooch, two beads of silver filigree and two pendants.
An ornament of the same kind has been found at Lehdesmäki, Hauho. The neck chain is composed of a selection of silver coins and fragments of jewellery originating from different parts of Europe and the Middle East. The hoard is dated to the 11th century A.D. in 1996 a similar necklace was found in Hämeenkoski.“
I’ve included a low-resolution photo of the necklace along with it’s description here, though I’ll have more detailed photos in a post to follow.