RAM Vikings – Turtle brooches

Bronze (with silver and niello) turtle brooch from Holbæk , Denmark

Bronze (with silver and niello) turtle brooch from Holbæk , Denmark

Two years ago in May 2019 my mum and I took a trip to Edmonton to visit the Royal Alberta Museum (RAM) specifically to see the touring Viking Exhibit from Denmark. It’s taken me some time to get through the photos (and remember to post) but over the next while I’ll share some of the highlights from the exhibit, hopefully to help any other reenactors or costumers get inspired for their own future projects!

Today’s post is all about turtle brooches!

Gripping loops turtle brooch

I’m calling this the gripping loops turtle brooch because there is a repeated design of rope-like loops around the brooch, and little animals that make holes (perhaps where ribbons could have passed through?) that are gripping onto those rope-like loops. I’m not actually sure if this design has a particular name otherwise.

Despite the ornate design of the  main part of the brooch – in the very center there’s a flat part that has an interlinked design (like a celtic knot) scratched quite roughly in the surface.

This brooch was found at Holbæk, Zealand, Denmark, and the description says that it is bronze, decorated with silver and niello.

(You can click on any of the photos above for a larger view)

Floral diamond

This bronze turtle brooch was found at Melsted, Denmark

This bronze turtle brooch was found at Melsted, Denmark

This brooch has two main diamond/lozenge shapes, with a leaf-like design inside it from the looks of things. Like the previous design, I don’t know if this pattern actually has an existing name.

They had a single brooch that is fairly distinct, and a pair where the pattern is very subdued.

The single was found at Melsted, Borholm, Denmark along with an equal-armed brooch and a string of glass beads and is dated 850 – 900 CE.

The pair was found with an equal-armed brooch in Louscgaard, Bornholm, Denmark and are dated 800-850 CE.

Bronze turtle brooches found with an equal-armed brooch in Louscgaard, Bornholm, Denmark and are dated 800-850 CE

Bronze turtle brooches found with an equal-armed brooch in Louscgaard, Bornholm, Denmark and are dated 800-850 CE

Another pair (that I didn’t photograph well enough to share, but the same style) was found along with a gilded bronze equal-arm brooch at Melsted, Borholm, Denmark. No date was provided.

6 holes

Turtle brooch found at Topgaard, Jutland, Denmark, on display in 2019 at the Royal Alberta Museum.

Turtle brooch found at Topgaard, Jutland, Denmark, on display in 2019 at the Royal Alberta Museum.

This design has three holes on either side of a central long bar. The holes have ‘frames’ around them, that are incredibly blank, which makes me think that there’s something missing perhaps? The blank circles also  have ornate rope-like wreaths around them, and there are other designs between the holes.

This brooch was found at Topgaard, Jutland, Denmark.

Grillwork

These bronze turtle brooches were found at Bækkengård, Bornholm, Denmark, and are dated 800-850 CE.

These bronze turtle brooches were found at Bækkengård, Bornholm, Denmark, and are dated 800-850 CE.

This pair of bronze brooches has a very open space with four separate areas with a winding organic pattern.

These two brooches were found along with an equal-armed brooch, a bronze arm-ring with carved decoration, and glass beads. These were found at Bækkengård, Bornholm, Denmark, and are dated 800-850 CE.

Pierced

This set of copper alloy turtle brooches were  found alongside a gilded bronze trefoil brooch at Ladby, Fyn, Denmark. The set is dated 850-950 CE.

This set of copper alloy turtle brooches were found alongside a gilded bronze trefoil brooch at Ladby, Fyn, Denmark. The set is dated 850-950 CE.

This design is fully pierced with a lot of large and small holes and a symmetrical design.

This set was found alongside a gilded bronze trefoil brooch at Ladby, Fyn, Denmark. The set is dated 850-950 CE.

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    Bronze (with silver and niello) turtle brooch from Holbæk , Denmark

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You can also click the “turtle brooch” or “tortoise brooch” links below to see MORE different varieties of turtle / tortoise brooches!

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