Archaeology and finds

Find places:

Guldgubber wer found all over Scandinavia. From Gudme up to Borg throughout Denmark, Sweden, and Norway.

guldgubber finding places in Scandinavia

Guldgubber finding places in Scandinavia. Taken from Jan Peder Lamm: Figural gold foil founds in Sweden: a study based on discoveries from Helgö. In. Bo Gyllensvärd et al. (ed.):Excavations at Helgö XVI. Exotic and sacral finds from Helgö. Stockholm 2004

 

Denmark:
Sorte Muld-Bornholm
Sorte Muld has been the place with the most guldgubber findings in Scandinavia. Up to now there have been found about 2300 guldgubber. Unfortunately the find circumstances in Sorte Muld are not the best for the dating and useage of the guldgubber.The excavated area, in which the guldgubber where found, makes up 1-2% of the whole settlement. The rest of the settlement is possibly about 40.000-50.000 square metre big. It is supposed to have been the biggest in size during the Migration Age. In the settlement other, normal, findings have been excavated such as:

  • domestic pottery
  • tools made out of iron, bronze, and bone

There are special finds as well, such as:

  • gold
  • denares
  • weights
  • garnet jewelery
  • pearls out of glas
  • Frankonian glas ware
  • breakteats
  • spears, lances, bent on purpose
  • arrow tips

 

Lundeborg

Lundeborg lies east of Gudme on Fünen and is quite similar to Gudme. A lot of statuettes of animals and humans were found, as well as masks in quantities no where else found. In Lundeborg itself there were a lot of nails for boats found and a scattered hoard find of guldgubber, consisting of around 102 guldgubber total, mainly of so-called doublegubber. Just two guldgubber were found in Gudme so far.

 

Sweden:

There are 13 finding places for guldgubber in Sweden. These are:

  • Helgö (Uppland) – 26 figures
  • Gullmarsberg (Bohuslän) – one figure
  • Hög Edsten (Bohuslän) – three figures
  • Slöinge (Halland) – 57 figures and fragments
  • Hysby (Närke) – one figure
  • Ravlunda (Skåne) – three figures
  • Uppåkra (Skåne) – 113 figures and for patrices
  • Bolmsö (Småland) – two figures
  • Brahekyrkan, Visingsö (Södermanland) – one figure
  • Eskilstuna cloister (Södermanland) – two figure
  • Ultuna (Uppland) – one figure
  • Eketorp Ring-Fort (Öland) – 15 figures
  • Svintuna (Östergotland) – one figure

Here, I will present you some further details for the find places with more than three figures, which will be Eketorp, Helgö, Slöinge, and Uppåkra.

Eketorp

Fifteen guldgubber were found in Eketorp in a stone chamber between a row of houses and a central block. A bronze staff and pieces of goldrings were found with the guldgubber. This find is dated in the transition of the early Iron Age to the Viking Age. There are just three different  motives on these guldgubber: a standing man, a man on tip toe and a women en face. All three of them are depicted without arms.

Helgö

26 guldgubber were found in the central house complex in Helgö. They were found in the eastern part of the foundation, twelve in an area of 3x4m. Six guldgubber were not found in the foundation I but in the outerside from there. All guldgubbers are doublegubber.

 

Excavation at Helgö

Excavation at Helgö. Diagram of the foundation an distribution of the guldgubber. Taken from Jan Peder Lamm: Figural gold foil founds in Sweden: a study based on discoveries from Helgö. In. Bo Gyllensvärd et al. (ed.):Excavations at Helgö XVI. Exotic and sacral finds from Helgö. Stockholm 2004

  • Furthermore some other things were unearthed together with the guldgubber:
  • coptic ladle
  • a fragmented silver bowl with chased ornaments
  • a buddha figurine
  • glasware, two Reticella beakers, nine shards of thin red glas, six shards of light blue-green glas of a bowl and shards of Karolingian tumble beaker
  • three bronze- and five ironlocks – maybe originating from chests
  • two spiral earings

 

Slöinge

57 guldgubber and some fragments were excavated here. The guldgubber were found around some post holes and the remaining wood could be dated to 710-720 a. D. The find consists of 26 doublegubber and nine single gubber. One guldgubber shows two people standing behind each other. Either this is a new motive or the guldgubber was not seperated correctly.

Other finds were:

  • fibulae of the later Roman Iron Age or Early Vendelperiod
  • fragments of Frankonian Sturzbecher (tumble beaker) of the Early Iron Age and Viking Age
  • pearls of the Early Iron Age and Viking Age
  • coins of the Viking Age
  • raw garnets
  • millstones
  • workshop debris

 

Uppåkra

Uppåkra is the place in Sweden with the most guldgubber found so far. Until the autumn of 2003 113 guldgubber and 4 patrices were found there. Among the 113 guldgubber were only six doublegubber, the rest consists of single gubber. All of the guldgubber were found in a building near post holes.

Guldgubber patrices of Uppåkra

Guldgubber patrices of Uppåkra. By Margrethe Watt. Guldgubber og patricer.

Other finds in the house were a big glas bowl and a silver chalice mit ornaments. Furthermore some spear and lance heads were found.

Chalice of Uppåkra

Chalice of Uppåkra. Cover picture of the Uppåkrastudier 6

 

Norway:

The guldgubber finds in Norway are not as rich as they are in Sweden or Denmark and are not as well documented.

Hauge

In Hauge (Klepp) some guldgubber were unearthed and suppoesedly all depict doublegubber. They were not found in any settlement or house context.

Mære

23 doublegubber were found in a building near post holes in Mære. The building can be dated into the Viking Age. During mediaeval times a church was built above that building. Mære is described in mediaeval sources as a centre for the heathen cult.