Arm and Neck Rings

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Arm and Neck Rings

A great number of rings – for the neck, the arm and the finger have been found in areas of Viking occupation. Owen-Crocker states that she thinks that these rings were a more popular form of adornment for Viking women than the wearing of beads [OWEN-CROCKER 2004]:p.165
It does not appear that the wearing of Neck- and arm-rings continued into the 11th century in Scotland. [GRAHAM-CAMPBELL and BATEY 1998]:p.237
Gold was mainly found as finger rings due to cost

Neck rings [V]


  • "The women wear neck rings of gold and silver, one for each 10,000 dirhems which her husband is worth; some women have many." Ibn Fadlan 'Account of the Rus'


9th Century southern Scandinavian.

The spiral ring found along side the neck ring found at Illebolle, Langeland, Denmark proves that these rings could be cut up and then worn on the arm.


Thin intertwined metal strands fabricated from (usually two or three) wires of constant thickness. A number of such metal strands are then laid next to each other to form the major motif of the ring.


The motif is formed from a single twist of wires. In this case the wires are relatively thick and typically constructed with slowly varying thickness.

Embellished Twisted

The motif of thick twisted wires is embellished by a thin wire or a thin twisted wire

Arm rings [V]

All of the styles used as neck rings are also found in a smaller form as arm rings. These are described above under neck rings


Date:860-1000AD Norway; 950-1000AD Sweden & Denmark; 950-1050AD Gotland.
The earliest find of a rod arm ring is from the Norwegian Hon hoard [SHEEHAN 1992]:fig.4 and dated after c.860 [GRAHAM-CAMPBELL 1980]:p.143 cat.486. This type of arm ring does not begin to occur commonly in other parts of Scandinavia until after the middle of the 10th century where it becomes common after 975AD in southern Swedish, Gotlandic and Danish hoards. It remains common in Gotlandic hoards well into the 11th century [SHEEHAN 1992]:fig.4



Embellished Twisted

Hiberno-Norse – Coiled arm-ring

880-930AD [SHEEHAN 1992]:p.47

Hiberno-Norse (Scots-Norse) - Ring Money

950AD to 1065AD
possibly originating in Ireland [GRAHAM-CAMPBELL and BATEY 1998]
[SHEEHAN and Ó Corráin 2010, p.25]


Gold armlet from Virginia, Co. Cavan. British Museum. [BOE 1940]:p.104

Danish - Plate

Date: C9th

The Illebolle example was found in Denmark with a solid neck ring and two coiled arm rings[ROESDAHL and WILSON 1992]:cat. 147

Band Shaped

Hiberno-Norse – Broad-band

850-950AD [SHEEHAN 2011]:p.94
Sheehan defines them as consisting of a thick band of silver, decorated with bar-shaped punches, usually with a cross in the expanded central area and again towards the terminals that are usually (but not always) pennanular in shape [SHEEHAN 2011]:p.94.
A total of 350 finds from the British Isles [SHEEHAN 2011]:p.94. Also found in Denmark and Norway [GRAHAM-CAMPBELL and SHEEHAN 1995]

  • Ireland, 140 finds [SHEEHAN 2011]
  • England
    • Curdale Hoard (c.905-910AD). 127 finds, consisting of 7 complete, 2 in 2 pieces and 118 fragments. [SHEEHAN 2011]:p.95

Deep Transverse Grooves

The most typical group of Scandinavian arm rings in use from the late Vendel period to the Viking Age [GRAHAM-CAMPBELL 1980]:cat.227.



Date: C9th
Only found in Denmark and Gotland and probably imported from the Bulgar state on the central Volga [ROESDAHL and WILSON 1992]:p.265 cat.147

I wonder if these cold have been made from the solid rod style of neck ring?



    [BOE 1940] ^ Bøe, Johanes. Viking Antiquities in Great Britain and Ireland Part 3, ‘Norse Antiquities in Ireland’. Edited by Haakon Shetelig. 1940. (LIB)
    [GRAHAM-CAMPBELL 1980] ^ 1 2 3 4 Graham-Campbell, James. Viking Artefacts, ‘A Select Catalogue’. British Museum Publications, 1980.
    [GRAHAM-CAMPBELL and SHEEHAN 1995] ^ Graham-Campbell, James, and John Sheehan. “A hoard of Hiberno-Viking arm-rings, probably from Scotland.” Proc SocAntiq Scot, 1995: 771-778.
    [GRAHAM-CAMPBELL and BATEY 1998] ^ 1 2 Graham-Campbell, James, and Colleen E. Batey. Vikings in Scotland, an archaeological survey. Edinburgh University Press, 1998. (LIB)
    [OLSEN and BOHR 2010] Olson, Kasper and Jakob Bohr. Hidden Beauty in Twisted Neck Tings. 2010.
    [OWEN-CROCKER 2004] ^ Owen-Crocker, Gale R. Dress in Anglo-Saxon England. The Boydell Press, 2004.
    [ROESDAHL and WILSON 1992] ^ 1 2 3 4 5 6 Roesdahl, Else, and David M. Wilson. From Viking to Crusader, The Scandinavians and Europe 800-1200. Nordic Council of Ministers, 1992.
    [SHEEHAN 1992] ^ 1 2 3 4 Sheehan, John. “Coiled Armrings - An Hiberno-Viking Silver Armring Type.” The Journal of Irish Archaeology, VI 91/92, 1992: 41-53.
    [SHEEHAN 2011] ^ 1 2 3 4 5 Sheehan, John. 'xxxx' in James Graham-Campbell, The Cuerdale Hoard and Related Viking-age Silver and Gold from Britain and Ireland in the British Museum (British Museum Research Publication). 2011.
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