Golden luxuries glasswares

Lofotr Vikingmuseum

Borg • Lofoten

The chieftain’s mansion has many rooms. The feast hall was where the chieftain’s and his wife held court, towering above the other benches on their thrones. Their seats of honour were the symbolic centerpoint of the region’s social, political and religious life. Power and order were issued from this spot. This was where the reigning couple sat when a feast was served or for special events.

Gullgubber, small hammered gold trinkets, have only been found at specific locations in Scandinavia where ruling powers were located or where chieftains resided. They were part of a ritual burial, buried beside the foundations of the poles that supported the feast halls. Toreutics of this kind are rare. They are proof that a man of great power resided at the house. Five Gullgubber were found at Borg. Maybe they depict the motif of love between man and woman? Or are they a symbol of the chieftain’s divine origin?

Laughter, music and the sound of goblets clanking filled the feast hall. People amused themselves with board games and shared a round of beer or mead, often in excess. We read from a poem entitled Håvamål (the Sayings of the High One): “it is best to imbibe without losing one’s wits”.

Beer, wine and mead were more than just refreshments. Feasts, holidays and important events were celebrated with drink, creating solidarity and camaraderie among the participants of the feast. Our chieftain used the finest glass and flagons.

Glass was rare and costly; it had to be imported from southern Europe. Only the wealthy and powerful men and women would serve mead from costly glass. Original parts from such flagons and glass are displayed in the exhibition at Borg together with other rare and special archaeological objects.

(The exhibition halls and film room offer audio guides in 6 different languages: Italian, French, Spanish, German, English and Norwegian.)

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