Show Navigation


Craft, industry and trade

Viking-period ring pins

Early Medieval

A group of ring pins, so called because of the distinctive ring at the top or head of the pin.  Most of the heads are decorated and one, a polyhedral-headed pin (see detail) has fine interlace design.


Ring pins are an Irish and Norse phenomenon and their occurrence at Whithorn is another example of the town's contacts with Viking settlements in Ireland, the Hebrides and the Isle of Man.  Ring pins were used to secure cloaks and wraparound jackets.


The polyhedral examples are very diagnostic and are found in Ireland from the 920s, in Whithorn and the Hebrides by the 940s - 950s, in Orkney and the Faroes by the 980s and in Iceland by the year 1000AD. One was found at L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland, confirming that the Vikings reached the North American continent.

Copper alloy
average length 90mm
The Whithorn Trust
Accession number:
WIWMS Whit BZ15.3-9
Digital Number:
WTAC008a; WTAC008b
Dumfries & Galloway Council

Alternative Views:

alternative small picturealternative small picture