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Stratum plus. 2013. №5

V. I. Kulakov (Moscow, Russia)

Tongue-Shaped Fibulae: Origin and Stylistics

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Pages: 303-308

The excavation undertaken in 1897 by the known Prussian graphic artist and archaeologist Johannes Heydeck found the first tongue-shaped brooch (German Zungenfi bel) in Prussia on a barrow burial ground in Kaup (nowadays village Mochovoje, Zelenogradsk, Kaliningrad Oblast). Judging by the material from barrow K/7, unique for the Baltic region tongue-shaped fibulae were part of the female attire, with a couple of oval brooches as its basic items. Another tongue-shaped fibula was found in the territory of Kaliningrad Oblast.
It is widely known that the Scandinavian jewelers replicated, or rather reconceptualized metal details of Carolingian attire. It is proved that, in particular, North European trefoil fibulae of 10th c. replicate overlaid dividers of sword-belts. In view of the above, there is no surprise that tongue-shaped fibulae of the Vikings' age known in antiquities found in the territory of Scandinavia, take their origins from belt tips of 8th — early 9th cc.
Tongue-shaped fibulae, preserving the unique tradition of creative reinvention of details of belt in a piece of female attire, mark the top development of the Scandinavian decorative art preceding the decline of the Vikings' age. Tongue-shaped fibulae, very rare in Scandinavia and unique for the Baltics, were an essentially social sign, marking the tight connections between women — mistresses and landladies — and royal guards.

Keywords: South-Eastern Baltic, Vikings’ age, tongue-shaped fibulae, Jelling style

Information about author:

Vladimir Kulakov
(Moscow, Russia). Doctor of Historical Sciences. Institute of Archaeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Dmitry Ulyanov St., 19, Moscow, 117036, Russia
E-mail: [email protected]

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