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!

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RAM Vikings – A Woman’s Grave

Beads and coins from a Viking Age woman's grave.

Beads and coins from a Viking Age woman’s grave.

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 the dress ornaments of an aristocratic Viking woman.

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Viking Tortoise Brooches

Tortoise brooches found beneath the Hekla eruption.

Tortoise brooches found beneath the Hekla eruption.

From the Iceland National Museum

So I took a bit of a detour and showed you some photos from the Vikings exhibit in BC,  (click the tag to read more) but I still have so much to share from Iceland.. so back to Iceland we will go!

The Iceland National Museum had a number of “tortoise” brooches on display from a number of different discoveries. I’ve decided to show them all off on one page, although they all might be from different ages.

Please note, this is a VERY image-heavy post.

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Viking “roach” brooch at the Saga Museum

Mother figure wearing a folded apron dress held with "roach" shaped brooches

Mother figure wearing a folded apron dress held with “roach” shaped brooches

After seeing the large tortoise (oval/ turtle) brooches from Viking Age finds, I was struck how distinctly different this brooch was, from the Saga Museum in Iceland. The character portrayed is supposed to be a Celtic woman taken as a slave/wife by a Nordic Viking Age man, and taken to Iceland. The brooch is much, much smaller than the other brooches displayed (either the originals as seen elsewhere, or the reproductions in the Saga Museum) an has a pattern, size, and shape that reminded me of a cockroach! (Hence, I’m calling it a “roach brooch” even if that’s not the most flattering name! Continue reading