This section remains under construction. It will be a compilation of the posaments and other wire trimmings from outside Birka. See the Posament Bibliography for complete citations. Please let me know if you know of any other posaments from outside Birka!
I have compiled a map of the finds and will be adding details about each find below as I am able. As of right now, the map is significantly more complete.
Posaments Before 1000CE:
Denmark, Haithabu (Hedeby) – 8th-11th century CE (Inga Hägg – Die Textilfunde Siedlung und Graeber Haithabu)
- Unnumbered grave – stone wrapped with spiral silver wire (not pictured)
- Unnumbered grave – spiral silver ring
- Grave 188/1960 – two spiral silver rings (one intact, one in pieces and not pictured) and a knife handle decorated with spiral silver wire
- Grave 204/1960 – knife or awl handle wrapped with spiral silver (not pictured
- Grave 27/1963 – spiral silver ornaments, not pictured or further described (“Zierate aus gezogenem Spiralsilberdraht (Durchmesser 0.25 mm)”
Denmark, Ladby – c925CE (Knud Thorvildsen – Ladby-Skibet – pages 80-81. Sorensen, A – Ladby: A Danish Ship-Grave from the Viking Age – pages 74-76)
- Strap end (Item 392)
- Knot (Item 81)
- Knot (Item 501)
- Multiple Stickerei (related ornaments also found in Birka, but not posaments)
England, York, St. Mary Bishophill Senior – early 10th Century CE (Hall, R. A. “A silver appliqué from St. Mary Bishophill Senior, York.” (1998).)
- Rectangular spangle of drawn silver wire
Gotland – The Gotlandic posaments are treated separately from the Swedish and Birka posaments because they are actually distinct both in form and location from the Birka collection. They follow a different “grammar” than the Birka posaments. Whereas the Birks posaments use two strands per line and include braids and knots, the Gotlandic posaments more commonly use a single strand per line and are limited to braids. (Stenberger, Mårten. Das Gräberfeld bei Ihre im Kirchspiel Hellvi auf Gotland Acta Arch 32 1961; Stenberger, Mårten. Die Wikingerzeit Gotlands IV; Stenberger, Mårten. Die Wikingerzeit Gotlands I; Sörling. Fornvännen 34.)
- Halla Broe A – Spiral silver braid – This appears to be a three part braid of spiral silver, pictured from the side, but the photo and the text are not perfectly clear. It is possible that this is three beaded wires that have been braided or twisted as they may be inflexible. (Image Bertha Amaya SHM 2006-11-29 Creative Commons Erkännande 2.5 Sverige)
- Helvi Grave 212 (Stenberger #111) – Silver braid – single lines of spiral silver wire. Grave includes multiple pieces in two widths, so probably represents two different braids. (Die Wikingerzeit Gotlands IV page 402, Die Wikingerzeit Gotlands III:1 page 362, Gotlands museum).
- Helvi Grave 215 (Stenberger #110) – Fragments of spiral silver, described as a broad band in DWG III:1 – (Die Wikingerzeit Gotlands IV page 403, Die Wikingerzeit Gotlands III:1 page 362) (not pictured)
- Helvi Grave 494 (Stenberger #84) – Three P24 sliding knots in spiral silver (Die Wikingerzeit Gotlands III:1 page 362, Gotlands museum)
- Helvi Grave 497 (Stenberger #108) – Silver braid and “pearls” – the braids are probably Stickerei but the “pearls” are likely posament knots. In DWG III:1, a silver spiral “knot” is described as belonging to this grave. (Die Wikingerzeit Gotlands IV, Die Wikingerzeit Gotlands III:1 page 362, and Gotlands museum website) (not pictured)
- Helvi Grave 504 (Stenberger #112) – Spiral silver braids – the fragments come in two distinct widths and so likely represent two separate bands. (Die Wikingerzeit Gotlands IV page 435, Die Wikingerzeit Gotlands III:1 page 362, Gotlands museum)
- Helvi Grave 504 (Stenberger #112) – Spiral silver knot or ring – Need to locate picture to verify that the text is referring to the hot mess at bottom right. A doubled line of spiral wire forms knots and is jumbled together with some length of drawn wire. (Die Wikingerzeit Gotlands IV page 435, Die Wikingerzeit Gotlands III:1 page 362, and Gotlands museum website)
- Källunge Church – mass of silver spiral threads in a box – original form unclear. Found on the Gotlands museum website, but I would love any further information anyone might have!
- Slite Torg – Fragments of spiral silver – too fragmentary to identify securely, but possibly a sliding knot – (Die Wikingerzeit Gotlands IV page 573)
- Väskinde – Spiral silver braid – While standard posament work can be impressive, this braid is legit INSANE. Silver wire of a 0.05mm diameter is wound around a silk thread to form a 0.2mm diameter SPIRAL which is then braided/woven in a complicated technique requiring 41 ends. CRAZY. Probably my favorite of the Gotland finds. (Lundgren, 1975; Nylén 1975)
Ireland, Kilkenny – A bundle of fabric found in Dunmore Cave included a collection of conical silver buttons (see below for related non-posament items). One of the buttons had a fragment of spiral silver thread attached. Less frequently pictured or discussed is the spiral thread “fringe” which appears to be a braid of spiral posament threads. I am currently seeking additional information about this piece. (National Museum of Ireland, Patrick F. Wallace, and Raghnall O’Floinn. Treasures of the National Museum of Ireland: Irish Antiquities. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan, 2002.; Halpin, Andy. “The Dunmore Hoard.” Irish Arts Review (2008).)
Norway, Vangsnes – A drawn gold wire P4 band of about 23cm in 3 pieces. Please note that the photos are black and white but the museum website specifies that this is a gold wire posament. (http://www.unimus.no/foto/#/search?q=vangsnes Please note that you need to page through a few pages to find the images.)
Poland, Świelubie – An interesting gravefield in Western Pomerania includes a collection of burials of people from the Mälaren valley. Most of the Scandinavians buried in this are are Danish, but there appears to have been a Swedish population living near Bardy, but the reason for this outpost is unclear. The graves include numerous items that are stylistically characteristic of Birka and include a sliding knot posament in a female cremation grave. (Krzewicka, Alicja. “Wczesnośredniowieczne znaleziska w typie skandynawskim z terenu Polski.” (2013). Image from figure 39.)
Russia, Gnezdovo – A single example of a strap finial like P22 on the remnant of a silk ribbon. This posament does not have a ring at the base, but it is not clear if no ring was present or if the rink has been damaged and lost. (Орфинская О.В. Текстиль Гнёздовского комплекса, К-97.10. Позумент из канители с шёлковой тканью — самит (рис. 40).)
Scotland, Ballinaby – A tripled knot of twisted silver wire appears at either end of the woven chain. These knots are very similar to P25. (Scotland in Pagan times, pages 27-29, figure 23 – top shows full piece, bottom shows detail of knot ending)
Sweden, Adelsö – Very close to Birka and probably could be considered as part of the main collection. (Rydh, H. Forhistoriska undersokningar pa Adelso)
- Knot (grave 9)
- Three gold crosses like P16 but very fine wire (Skopintull (Primärgrav), Hovgården or Ormknös)
Sweden, Gamla Uppsala – information forthcoming
Sweden, Huddinge – Near Stockholm
- Fragments of a P9 band
- Six sliding knots like P23 or P24
Ukraine, Shestovitsy (Shestovica) – The cemetery at Shestovica has strong Scandinavian ties, so many of the finds may be imports or heirlooms rather than locally produced items. Mound 110 (10th century) produced four spiral silver spangles that appear to be similar to P19. (Drevnerusskie pamyatniki Shestovitsy, pg 221, 229, Plate XXXII #9 & #10)
Not Posaments, but Contemporary Related or Similar Techniques:
England, Ingleby – c. 880-900CE – Ösenstitch – Posnansky, M (Crowfoot, E) – The Pagan-Danish Barrow Cemetery at Heath Wood, Ingleby 1955
Germany, Ausburg – Girdle of St. Witgarius – fringe and balls constructed using lahn, not solid wires. (The Techniques of Tabletweaving, Peter Collingwood, p 242-244, plate 197 and 198)
This is not an exhaustive list of the stickerei in Gotland – there are A LOT of examples – these are just the ones that came up when looking for posaments.
Contact me for additional details. I will hope to complete this at some point, but right now it is not the topic of focus.
- Halla Broe B – Silver band – Stickerei – Broe Grab B/1899, SHM 11106:2. Interestingly, tis was found near a dog’s skull and was interpreted as belonging to a dog collar. (Die Wikingerzeit Gotlands IV-1 – p 328 “Ein ausgestreckt unter dem Hundeschadel liegendes Band aus geflochtenem Silberdraht wurde von Hansson als Beschlag eines Hundehalsbandes angesprochen.” “A band of braided silver wire lying stretched out under the dog’s skull was referred to by Hansson as fitting a dog collar.”) Image Bertha Amaya SHM 2006-11-20 Creative Commons Erkännande 2.5 Sverige.
- Halla Broe B – Edge wire – Ösenstitch – Broe Grab B/1899, SHM 11106:2 Image Bertha Amaya SHM 2006-11-20 Creative Commons Erkännande 2.5 Sverige
- Austers, Hangvar – Silver stickerei band, similar to St 15 – drawn silver wire – Austers, Ksp. Hangvar SHM 2309 – (Image credits: Left: Christer Åhlin SHM 2011-12-19 Creative Commons Erkännande 2.5 Sverige. See also: Die Wikingerzeit Gotlands II, Page 285)
- Endre, Kvie – Silver stickerei band, similar to St 15 – drawn silver wire – Endre, Kvie, SHM 5725 – (Die Wikingerzeit Gotlands IV: 1, Page 144, image Die Wikingerzeit Gotlands II, Page 285))
- Helvi Grave 497 (Stenberger #108) – Silver braid and “pearls” – the braids are probably Stickerei but the “pearls” are likely posament knots. (Die Wikingerzeit Gotlands IV, Die Wikingerzeit Gotlands III:1 page 362, and Gotlands museum website)
- Othem (Slite) – SHM 15752 – Osenstich (Die Wikingerzeit Gotlands I figure 255:6)
- Sandgarde – SHM 22005:4 – three pieces of drawn silver wire ribbon (and a silver brocaded tablet woven band). Described as fragments of two different types of Osenstich, only one pictured. (DWGotlands 1 figure 264:1)
- Väskinde – Stickerei from an equestrian grave , found around the shoulder and upper arm, possible as decoration on a short sleeved tunic. (Lundgren, 1975) Photo: Bertha Amaya SHM 2007-01-09 Creative Commons Erkännande 2.5 Sverige
- Visby – SHM 3910 – Ribbon in Osenstich (3 chains) made of solid wire (Geijer 1938, p. 114, St 15e) Photo: Elisabet Pettersson SHM 2006-12-22 Creative Commons Erkännande 2.5 Sverige
Ireland, Kilkenny – These buttons are woven instead of braided or knotted and so a distinct technique from what is seen in the posament work. (National Museum of Ireland, Patrick F. Wallace, and Raghnall O’Floinn. Treasures of the National Museum of Ireland: Irish Antiquities. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan, 2002.; Halpin, Andy. “The Dunmore Hoard.” Irish Arts Review (2008).)
Poland, Świelubie – An interesting gravefield in Western Pomerania includes a collection of burials of people from the Mälaren valley. Most of the Scandinavians buried in this are are Danish, but there appears to have been a Swedish population living near Bardy, but the reason for this outpost is unclear. The graves include numerous items that are stylistically characteristic of Birka and include a sliding knot posament and a piece of stickerei in a female cremation grave. (Krzewicka, Alicja. “Wczesnośredniowieczne znaleziska w typie skandynawskim z terenu Polski.” (2013). Figure 39 includes a line drawing of the Osenstich.)
Scotland, Galloway Hoard – In the Galloway Hoard is a cross pendant on a spiral cord. This spiral cord has a diameter of about 2.5mm and has a fiber core (personal communication with NMS).
Later Examples of Posaments or Related Techniques:
Russia, Belorechensk – In Mound 12 at Belorechensk, there was found a stunning collection of drawn gold wire crosses and squares that are nearly the same pattern as the P16 drawn wire crosses from Birka. There are 26 crosses, 5 large squares, 1 small square, and 3 damaged braids. These are often included in lists of posaments, but are from the 14-15th century and so significantly after the Birka period had ended. (Jansson, 605)
Russia, Suzdal – There are at least three examples of temple rings from 11th-13th century Suzdal that have knots similar to posament sliding knots, one example each of twisted wire, spiral wire, and smooth wire knots. Poor-quality images from graves 64 and 70 seem to show a total of four temple rings with knots, but it is not clear if those are four additional examples or these three rings and the fourth has been lost. (Book citation misplaced, images from Suzdal museum website.)
Swabia – Shoe of Philip of Swabia – 1208 – Ösenstich(?) with drawn wire and tabletwoven bands with gold lahn.