Om hjelmer med horn og Odins krigere

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter


This article deals with depictions of humans during the Vendel and Viking Age. While in earlier research, the iconographic approach has been predominant, the point of departure here are the functions pictures may have had in oral societies. As a new approach, the method of context analysis is presented. The main question is how depictions have been used differently by different social groups.
In the following part, a case study is presented. Objects with the motif "man or woman with horned headgear" and their find-contexts are analyzed. The motif-group can be divided in chronologically and spatially different sub-groups. In the Vendel Period, the pictures are linked to a male élite-warrior sphere. In the Viking Age, the motif was also used by women. Furthermore, figurines with the motif played a role at certain central places.
This indicates a change in the ritual practice of religion. On this basis, it is suggested that the motif may have had varying meanings, depending on the situational context.


  • Michaela Helmbrecht
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Archaeology


  • context analysis, horned helmets, Pictures, Art, Vendel Period, Viking Age
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationKult, Guld och Makt. Ett tvärvetenskapligt symposium i Götene. Historieforum Västra Götaland
EditorsIngemar Nordgren
PublisherHistorieforum Västra Götaland
ISBN (Print)91-974119-5-7
Publication statusUnpublished - 2007
Publication categoryResearch