Linnaniemi, Hämeenlinna hoard necklace in person

Linnaniemi, Hämeenlinna hoard necklace and other items from the hoard

Linnaniemi, Hämeenlinna hoard necklace and other items from the hoard

Linnaniemi, Hämeenlinna hoard necklace in person

In my previous post I showed the display of silver necklaces from the museum castle at Hämeenlinna. Today I’ll go into further detail on the necklace they had on display – the Linnaniemi, Hämeenlinna hoard necklace.

(I realized only after the fact, that I had a lot of up-close photos, but not many whole-necklace photos… and unfortunately, the one above was the best one!)

Warning… this post has a LOT of detail, which might not be interesting to my regular readers!

From the display:

“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.”

and

“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”

The pendants

There were no measuring devices included in the display case, so I had to use a rough guess to approximate the size of the various pendants and coins and chains that were components of the necklace. There are four “ornaments as pendants” on this necklace.

The heart pendant

Close up photo of the heart-shaped pendant

Close up photo of the heart-shaped pendant

Based on my very rough approximation, the heart pendant is about 3cm tall

From the display:

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.”

The pendant seems to have sort of intertwined dragons or something on it. It’s domed, but I’m not sure if it has a flat back, or a concave back. It’s attached with a bail directly to one of the connecting rings.

The pendant appears to have been molded, rather than struck. I have been told by someone who specializes in medieval jewellery casting, that the smooth, rounded/curved edges is what suggests this method of production. The dots around the edges are not consistent – suggesting they were not made by a punch/stamp. The smaller inner dots are kind of ‘pointed’ in some areas like teeth, likewise inconsistent.  While the ‘dragons’ are smooth, they sit on a background of dotted texture. These dots DO appear to be consistent, suggesting perhaps a specific tool used to make this design.

The lunula pendant

Close up on the lunula and diamond-shaped pendants

Close up on the lunula and diamond-shaped pendants

Based on my very rough approximation, the lunula pendant is about 2 cm tall. The museum offered no additional information about the pendant. There doesn’t appear to be much texture to the visible side of the pendant.

The lunula is attached to the necklace with a twisted-wire chain (similar in function to modern tube chain) with the final chain piece looping directly through the ‘weave’ of the middle piece of necklace chain. There are three ‘bars’ of chain, and the other end loops directly onto the pendant, whose bail is molded to the pendant – the suspension chain was made while attaching to the necklace, not before hand.

The lunula is very rough – with very little detail. It does appear to be molded as well – in fact it appears that it was cast and that some of the excess material spread beyond the mold on one side, and that it was not cleaned up.

The diamond pendant

I didn’t roughly measure the diamond pendant, but it’s slightly taller than the approximately 2 cm lunula pendant. Unlike the lunula, there is a lot of texture to this pendant. Like the lunula, it’s attached to the necklace with a twisted-wire chain made of three links, and again the chain was created through the molded-on bail of the pendant, and again the chain was constructed while attaching the suspension chain through the necklace chain, on the other end of the middle section of chain.

I’m unsure if the diamond pendant was molded/cast or struck. It does not have the rounded edges which would suggest casting, but it has inconsistent detail which might lessen the likelihood of having been stamped.

The triangle pendant

Close up on the 'triangle' pendant and nearby coins.

Close up on the ‘triangle’ pendant and nearby coins.

Based on my very rough approximation, the pendant is about 3.5 cm tall.

From the display:

6 Details of the neck chain of Linnaniemi, Hämeenlinna. The origin of the pendant with plant motifs is Hungarian.”

Like the heart-shaped pendant, the triangle pendant is attached with a bail to one of the connecting rings. It appears to be a flat pendant, with the motif engraved into the surface.

The engraving seems to have been done with only two tools – one a stamp making tiny circles/rings for the background, and another very fine point punch/stamp which was tap-tap-tapped to create the lines.

The coins

The necklace has “nine silver coins” (I count 8…), the size and origins of which vary. Again, my comments on the size are very approximate, as there was no measuring device in the display case.

Right side of the necklace -focused on the Abbasid dirhem coin

Right side of the necklace -focused on the Abbasid dirhem coin

Eastern coin – Abbasid dirhem

There are four of these coins on the necklace, and are about 3.5 cm tall (very approximate).

From the display:

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)”

There is one of these coins:

  • on the top left – suspended from the second connecting loop (if the first one is used to suspend the necklace).
  • on the top right – suspended from the third connecting loop from the top right
  • on the centre left – suspended from the sixth connecting loop from the top left
  • on the centre right – suspended from the seventh connecting loop from the top right

These coins are similar, though not exactly like the Omayyad Dynasty Dirhem coins on the Alpha Officium page.

That missing coin…

Another photo I found online (and included in my original A&S documentation) shows that in the fifth connecting loop on the right was that missing ninth coin. There was no discussion at the museum of why that coin was missing from the display. From the other photo it appears that this too is a dirhem.

Centre elements of the necklace, along with the axe-shaped pendants, the beads, and brooch

Centre elements of the necklace, along with the axe-shaped pendants, the beads, and brooch

Western coin – Danish penning

From the display:

Close up photo of the heart-shaped pendant

Close up photo of the heart-shaped pendant and nearby coins

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.”

Unfortunately the coin isn’t clear enough for me to compare it to any of the Alpha Officium coins, and they don’t mention this coin on their website.

Looking this coin up online by the name, results come up for “Svend Estridsen” instead,  and although the detail is minimal, it looks similar to the “Christ Enthroned” coin pictured on the York Coins site.

Unfortunately for my ‘inspired-by’ necklace, I don’t have anything like this.

Remaining coins

I don’t know the origin of the remaining coins on the necklace. My original research on the necklace though, said that the coins were of “Danish and Anglo-Saxon origins”. Additionally, my original research stated that the four non-Islamic coins on this necklace were 3 English coins, and one Danish, which tells me that the remaining coins that were unnamed by the museum.

Right side of the centre elements of the necklace

Right side of the centre elements of the necklace

  • The one on the left of the heart has a large cross on it, with circles between the cross intersections, similar to the Cnut the Great (Viking King of England) coin on the Alpha Officium page.
  • The coin between the lunula and triangle pendant has a small cross or x in the very middle, similar to the 10th Century Saxon coin on the Alpha Officium page.
  • The coin between the triangle pendant and the Abbasid dirhem is much less easy to distinguish. By process of elimination, this would also be an English coin.

The necklace chain

The necklace is made of 16 rings connecting bits of chain which are doubled. There are 15 segments, for a total of 30 bits of chain. All of the bits of chain are approximately the same length – 2.5 cm long, apart from the section in the middle. The chains all appear to be made of the same gauge of wire – finer than the rings, and I’m totally guessing that they’re approximately 24-26 gauge.

Although I wasn’t able to see the chain in person (and thus around) it appears as though the Viking Knit chain was four-loop created – whereas most of my Viking Knit in the past has started with five loops.

Middle chain

The first thing I noted, was that the bit of chain in the middle was longer than the other pieces of chain, and appeared to be a different kind of ‘weave’. It’s approximately 4.5 cm long, about twice the length of the chains in the remainder of the necklace. The wire gauge appears to be the same as the other pieces of chain.

I can not identify the “rungs” which make the chain look like “Viking Knit” in this middle section, though perhaps this is because the chain has been drawn down tighter – I’ll want to compare some of my different samples to see if this is the case.

The suspension chains

In addition to the chains that are connected with rings to complete the necklace, the pendants are suspended from the necklace with additional chains. Interestingly, there are a variety of chains to suspend the pendants.

Twisted wire ‘bar’ chain

Close up on the lunula and diamond-shaped pendants

Close up on the lunula and diamond-shaped pendants

As mentioned before, this chain is similar in function to modern tube chain, though rather than molded solid tubes, the wire is shaped into rings on each end, and then the middle is twisted together creating a solid ‘bar’ between the two loops. This is used to attach:

  • The lunula pendant
  • The diamond pendant

In both cases, there are three segments to the chain to attach the pendant to the necklace.

IF the Viking Knit was done in 24-26 gauge, the ‘twisted wire bar’ style chain is slightly heavier, I’d speculate 22-24 gauge.

Wrapped wire ‘bar’ chain

Like the twisted wire ‘bar’ chain, this is similar to modern tube chain. Where the twisted chain has the centre part twisted together, this one has the middle wire wrapped around itself.  There are two loops on either end of the centre bar, so the chain is constructed slightly differently. This style is used to attach:

  • The Danish penning (between the heart pendant and diamond pendant in the photo above)
  • The coin between the lunula and triangle pendant.

In both cases, there are three segments to the chain to attach the pendant to the necklace.

IF the Viking Knit was done in 24-26 gauge, the ‘wrapped wire bar’ style chain is slightly finer, I’d speculate 26-28 gauge.

Rolo chain

Close up photo of the heart-shaped pendant

Close up photo of the heart-shaped pendant

Like modern rolo chain, this chain has rings joining perpendicular. In this case there are two rings for each loop.  Looking at this closely, this isn’t the equivalent of two split rings side by side, but rather a ring made of one continuous wire – like a modern jump ring.

IF the Viking Knit was done in 24-26 gauge, the ‘rolo’ style chain is slightly heavier, I’d speculate 22-24 gauge. It appears to be the same gauge as the the ‘twisted wire bar’ style chain.

This chain is used to attach:

  • The two coins on either side of the four pendants.

The rings

Left end of the necklace

Left end of the necklace

Connecting all of the chains are silver wire rings. The main rings are simple, while the ones at the ends both have fairly large spirals of the leftover wire.

The right side of the necklace

The right side of the necklace

I estimated the gauge of the wire for the rings is similar to 18 gauge, though as with all of my measurements, this is really very speculative.

Conclusion

As you might be able to tell, I was looking at this necklace for a LOT of detail… my intention is to re-create my ‘inspired by’ necklace for an upcoming Kingdom A&S competition – I have a LOT of changes to make (essentially I’ll be re-making the entire piece, and re-writing all of my documentation with all that I’ve learned through visiting the museum. Hopefully in February I’ll be able to show off a brand-new necklace!

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3 comments on “Linnaniemi, Hämeenlinna hoard necklace in person

  1. Alec Story says:

    Thank you so much for posting these wonderful photos! I’m doing research on this wire technique, and this is one of the few finds that are unambiguously it.

    Well, it’s unambiguous with your photos!

    • Dawn says:

      Thanks! I am hoping to load up more photos from this museum… but I’ve just been super busy in the past few months trying to do so many other things… where is your research leading you?

  2. […] od najzanimljivijih predmeta s elementima vikinškog veza je srebrna ogrlica pronađena na području finske pokrajine Hämeenlinna. Ogrlica se sastoji od lančića nastalih […]

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