An extravagant 1,000-year-old Viking necklace of a pagan sorceress, which has been hailed as a “stunning” piece of jewelry, is now on display and part of an exhibition at the Jorvik Visitor Centre in York.
As the BBC reported, this Viking necklace was first discovered back in 1984 at Peel Castle, after archaeologists performed excavations around St. Patrick’s Isle.
The delicate and stunning necklace of the pagan sorceress combines a heady mix of 51 different beads that were created out of amber, glass, and jet, and is both colorful and bold in appearance.
As marketing manager Beth Dawes explained, the visitor center in York is “really thrilled” that the Manx National Heritage (MNH) has kindly loaned the Viking necklace so that it can be put on display and shown to the large number of people who have displayed an interest in this ancient artifact.
Dawes further noted that the excavation of the grave where the necklace was discovered showed that it was most likely the resting place of a very powerful Viking shaman or pagan sorceress known as a “Volva.”
“It is absolutely beautiful. I’ve been saying that I would wear it myself. The grave that the necklace was found in indicated that the woman might have been a pagan sorceress, which was a shaman sort of person who would have told fortunes and been very involved in rituals and religion.”
The owner of the necklace that was discovered has been called the “Pagan Lady,” although even though Vikings may have been pagans, it is noteworthy that the woman was laid to rest in the confines of a Christian cemetery.
As Allison Fox, Curator of Archaeology for MNH, has noted, the grave where the woman and necklace were found is so far the “wealthiest female burial” that has ever been excavated on St. Patrick’s Isle.
“The very least we can say is that she was a very important woman in the local community, and that importance might have a spiritual connotation as well as a practical domestic side. The number and variety of beads is really the striking thing about the necklace, that makes it stand out,” Fox continued.
While the grave of the pagan sorceress is from 950 CE, many of the beads that were found in the woman’s necklace are actually much older than this, and have been dated back to approximately 550 CE, 400 years before the Viking woman would have worn them.
Other objects that were discovered in the grave include an iron rod decorated with seeds and feathers, which is believed to have been a magical utensil for Viking rituals.
The necklace, which is currently on display, has been timed to be shown to the public at the same as the Jorvik Viking Festival, according to The York Press. This important festival will highlight the role of women in Viking culture, showing what life was like during this highly progressive era, which was much more forward-thinking than other societies in later medieval periods to come.
The Viking pagan sorceress necklace, now on display in York, will be available to visitors until August, 2019.