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Vikings

Domestic

Viking-period ring pins

Period:
Early Medieval
Description:

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 designs. Ring pins were used to secure cloaks and wraparound jackets.

 

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.  Whithorn has the largest number of ring pins from any site in Scotland.

 

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.

Materials/Media:
Copper alloy
Source:
The Whithorn Trust
Digital Number:
WTAH055


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