Stools, Benches & Chairs
|Stools, Benches & Chairs|
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Luxury chairs were signs of wealth and status. For most normal people seating consisted of sitting on the ground, on raised earth benches or small stools [ROESDAHL & WILSON 1992]:cat.561.
Stools and Benches
These rudimentary seats would have been all that was available for most people in Regia’s period.
Wooden 3 legged stool
Some have D-shaped holes in the centre of the seat that would have served as handholds for lifting the stools (Winchester, Dublin).
- Lund, Sweden. Beech, L.17.5cm, 1000-1050AD [ROESDAHL & WILSON 1992]:cat.79
- York cat.8946. Burrwood AD 930-975 [MORRIS 2000]
- York cat. 8947. Oak AD 975-1050 [MORRIS 2000]
- York cat. 8948. Oak mid C14th – late C15th [MORRIS 2000]
- Winchester AD 900-950 [MORRIS 2000]:p.2304
- Fishamble St. C11th [MORRIS 2000]:p.2304
Wooden 4 legged stool
- Hedeby, AD 850-1066 Oak, 29.6 x 20.6cm and 2.1cm thick. Leg holes are 2.6cm in diameter and the oak legs where wedged. The complete height was 19.5cm [WESTPHAL 2006]:p.87
- Dublin, [MORRIS 2000]:p.2304)
Wooden 4 legged bench
All of these benches have been interpreted as both seats and tables. Working marks in the wood
- Sala Hytta (although probably a low table)
- Oseberg c.AD 840 Oak, 92.5cm x 33cm. The legs are of a softer wood and are 28.5cm long.[GRIEG 1928]:p.167
Wooden jointed bench
- Dublin, Ireland. Cat. DW39. late C11th,
- Dublin, Ireland. Cat. DW73.
- Dublin, Ireland. Cat. DW74.
- Hemsedal Church, Norway. L.130cm, AD 1200 [ROESDAHL & WILSON 1992]:cat.459
- Elisenhof, Germany (8th-11th C). The side of a bench. Made of one piece of wood, 16.2cm high, 21.0cm wide, 3.0cm thick. Two legs are cut out with a gap of 8.5cm. An gap for a dovetail joint with the seat is 8.7-10.7cm wide. The seat would have been 1.5-2.0cm thick and was secured with two wood nails, one from the bottom and one from the top. [SZABO 1985]:p. 120, Taf 29
A similar bench was also found in the Migration period Cemetary of Oberlfacht, Germany. [SZABO 1985]:p. 121
Chairs and Thrones
Wooden ‘Box’ style chair
A unique find from the Viking Age although there are other examples from the later Medieval Age.
- Oseberg, Norway. Beech, H.67cm, 800-850AD [ROESDAHL & WILSON 1992]:cat.163
- Lewis Chessman, 8 kings (out of 8), 8 queens (out of 8), 7 Bishops (out of 16). Walrus ivory [ROESDAHL & WILSON 1992]:cat.615 [ROBINSON 2004]
These are the same as the wooden ‘box’ style chairs, except that they are more ornate with carved arms and backs.
- Hedeby Silver pendant [ROESDAHL & WILSON 1992]:cat.187
- Dublin DW12 – Chair terminal?
Wooden ‘backed’ chair
This is from a unique C11th find in southern Sweden.
- Lund, Sweden 1000-1050AD [ROESDAHL & WILSON 1992]:cat.561
- Tyldal church, Norway 1150-1200AD [ROESDAHL & WILSON 1992]:cat.457
Earlier finds are from Oberflacht (AD C6th-C7th) and a boys grave in the Cologne Cathedral (AD 540) [WESTPHAL 2006].
Folding chairs are known from both Egypt and Rome and seem to have continued through the ages. A problem we face is understanding the subtexts from the Viking Age. In Roman times folding chairs were used to symbolise power and this may still have been the case in the Viking Age.
BL-TCVI-f017v King David
Wooden ‘Curule’ folding stool
These are considered to be high status items similar to the Roman ‘Curule’ which were a symbol of political or warrior power. Historically they were often used by leaders when passing judgement. They have distinctive curved legs.
- Dagobert's Throne, France, late 8th-9th century
- Manuscript Images
Wooden 'simple' folding stool
Made from straight bits of wood. In Roman times they sat in them with the cross bar to the front and back [CROOM 2000]:p.102
Iron framed folding stool
- Prittlewell Prince, England. C7th. [HIRST 2004]
Chairs with low backs made carved from a single log seem to be a Scandinavian innovation.
- Frykat pendant
- Bjorko pendant
- Lund, Sweden. Ivory figure, C11th. [ROESDAHL & WILSON 1992]:cat.602