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Das Thorsberger Moor, Band 2

Thorsberger Moor, Volume 2

Personal equipment


by Ruth Blankenfeldt

Publisher and Distributor: Verein zur Förderung des Archäologischen Landesmuseums e.V., Schloss Gottorf
Schleswig 2015
59 colour platesCover Thorsberg 2

The second volume of the "Thorsberger Moor" series presents finds from the sacrificial site that can be described as warriors' personal equipment. These finds include dress accessories such as brooches and belt fittings, utilitarian objects, jewellery and other personal items. Also included in this study are some exceptional pieces of a highly prestigious nature: two gold-plated decorative discs and a curved sheet of metal, also covered with gold foil.
The number of sacrificial deposits and the chronology of their deposition are discussed on the basis of archaeological and historical analyses. Since the finds from sacrificial sites with votive deposits of military equipment are usually non-local objects, they are also considered with a view to determining the geographical and cultural origin of the defeated warriors.
Given the particular preservation conditions, i.e. with a very low pH value, artefacts made of iron have rarely survived in the Thorsberger Moor. Moreover, the chemical conditions have also diminished the preservation of objects with a high apatite content (horn and bone). As a result, there is absolutely no trace of the traditional chronological 'indicators', such as lance and spearheads or combs, which on the basis of their raw material and form would normally yield detailed information about the origin of their former owners. Consequently, costume accessories, especially brooches and belt fittings, become the main chronological and chorological indicators for the deposits in the Thorsberger Moor.
The two gold-plated discs and the curved sheet can be classified among the most magnificent pieces of equipment of a social and military elite. They are high-quality status symbols made of precious material and are richly decorated with figurative art. However, neither the discs nor the curved sheet permit an analysis of the origin of the warriors or the dates of the votive depositions in the Thorsberger Moor. Artistically, these exceptional finds can be placed in the context of decorative insignia from North European Barbaricum and are thus prestigious evidence of early Germanic art.

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