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A Kragehul type lance head from a Middle Vendel Period grave in Stockholm


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A Kragehul type lance head from a Middle Vendel Period grave in


Rundkvist, Martin

Fornvännen 2003(98):1, s. [52]-55 : ill.


Ingår i: samla.raa.se


A Kragehul type lance head from a Middle Vendel Period grave in Stockholm

Ibi' Kragehul type lance head

T h e rich sacrifieial finds of Iron Age war booty from bogs in southernmost Seandinavia are a perennial source of fascination for archaeolo-gists. Recent decades have seen intense research in this field, producing among other things so-me very solid typochronological works (e.g. Ilkjaer 1990; Bemmann & H a h n e 1994) where the well-preserved bog finds have been studied in conjunction with contemporary grave linds that permit the establishment of a detailed chro-nological sequence.

O n e of the many weapon types discerned in the course of these studies is the Kragehul lance head, named after the bog site on Funen (Engel-hardt 1867, 1970). O t h e r bog sites with this ty-pe are Nydam, Ejsb0l and Illerup Adal in Den-mark (Vang Petersen 1998, pp. 262—263; Ors-nes 1988,Taf. 130:4; Ilkjaer 1990, pp. 142—143), and Skedemosse on Öland in southern Sweden (Hagberg 1967, p. 68, F954). U n d e r the gene-rally accepted interpretational model, these finds mark areas that were attacked by raiding parties armed with Kragehul type lances. In graves, the type is most common in southern Norway (Bemmann & H a h n e 1994, p. 454) but also known from Lapponia, Medelpad, Småland and Gotland in Sweden (table 1) and from Denmark. The grave finds are bdieved to mark areas where the type was manufactured. The model comes with the important source-critical caveat that not all groups at the time practised the customs of weapon burial or war booty sacrifice, so both source categories must be treated as incomplete distributions.

Regarding the Kragehul type, Bemmann & Hahne (1994, pp. 429—430) built upon studies by Fabech (1987, p. 32) and Ilkjaer (1990, pp. 142—143) and used a sample of 24 lance heads from Norwegian graves and an unspedfied n u m b e r from Danish sacrifieial deposits (Bemmann & H a h n e 1994, p. 586). They divi-ded the Kragehul type into a long and a short variant and offered the following definition of variant Kragehul-long (my translation): »The

lance heads of Kragehul type have a narrow lanceolate blade a n d a long socket. T h e ratio of socket length to blade length is generally about 1:1. T h e cross-section at the sockeks thinnest point is oval or square, the socket is often re-markably thin here. T h e sockels are often fa-ceted. ... [Kragehul-long:] Long lance heads with a lanceolate tapered blade with concave-rhomboid cross-section ... T h e following mea-surements describe the spän of variation of this variant: total length 2 7 - 3 8 cm, two specimens are longer than 50 cm, blade length 12—30, ra-rely 33 cm, socket length 10—19 c m' greatest

blade width 2.3-3.7 c m' greatest blade

thick-ness 0.5—1.1 cm. T h e widest point is in the lo-wer third of the blade, 3—7 cm from the blade's lower end. Socket length/blade length = 0.65— 1.35, blade width/blade length 0.1—0.26, length of blade below widest point/total blade length = 0.25—0.38.»

Bemmann & H a h n e dated the Kragehul-long type to AD 400—450, which is their short-hand designalion for the Early Migration Period ( D i ) . Recent studies (e.g. Lund Han-sen 1994, p. 1-2) place the period's start date at AD 375, reflecting the overlap with the final phase of the Late Roman Period (cf. Bemmann & H a h n e 1994, p. 318), the time of the Nydam fibulae. T h e Kragehul-short type continued to be produced into the Late Migration Period (Da; ibid., p. 430).Judging from the Nydam IV war booty sacrifice (Vang Petersen 1998, p. 262, Abb. 105) the Kragehul-long type also sur-vived into the Late Migration Period. T h e late date of Nydam IV is evinced by weaponry types belonging to Bemmann & Hahne's groups Vestly, Övstbus and Snartemo; and by metal-work decorated in Salin's Style I. It is, in fact, the latest in date ofall known Danish war booty sacrifices (ibid., p. 259), but as Andreas Rau bas kindly pointed out (email 1 2 J u n e 2002) there are also type Snartemo lance heads a m o n g those from Skedemosse.

The Swedish finds of Kragehul lance heads are characterised by Bemmann & H a h n e (1994,


Korta meddelanden 53

Fig. 1. Lance head, type Kragehul-long. Up, Solna psh, Raä 39, Kv Polisen 2, grave 34. Length 290 mm. Photograph by Martin Rundkvist. - Lansspets av typen Kragehul-läng.

p. 430) as »only conditionally comparable» to the western Scandinavian ones. As they are si-milar enough to my eye, I see no reason to ex-d u ex-d e them from the type. There is after all considcrable variation among the western Scandinavian population too.

The Tomteboda grave

J o h n Hamilton of the Swedish National Heri-tage Board performed developer-funded exca-vations in 2001 near the great post sorting ter-minal at Tomteboda on the north-western out-skirts of urban Stockholm. He uncovered, among other interesting finds, an u n b u r n t wea-pon grave. It contained a lance head, a seax sword, a small pair of shears, an awl, two whet-stones, two iron carpentry nails or rivets with wood remains, two minuscule iron rivets pos-sibly from a comb, a hoof spike, and teeth of a large herbivore (Hamilton in prep., grave 34). No bones were preserved, but the grave cut was too small to have accommodated an entire hor-se. T h e seax sword and shears date the grave to the Vendel Period. A similar grave was excava-ted at Äby in Västerhaninge psh, Söder-manland, in 2000 (Lloyd-Smith et al. 2002).

T h e Tomteboda sword is of W&G type SAX2 (orig. L c. 460 m m , max blade W 32 mm, tång L 85 mm) which is a diagnostic type of W&G period 3 - 4 , the Middle Vendel Period,

roughly AD 600—680. This date has been con-firmed by a radiocarbon analysis (KIA-i9567)of deer fur found with the sword. The lance head (fig. i ) , however, is unlike any known Vendel Period type. N0rgårdj0rgensen (W&G p. 129) places a similar one along with a Migration Period javelin head of a local type in the Early Vendel Period of her type scheme for the wea-pon graves of Gotland, on the strength of an uncertain find combination (SHM 18272).

The lance head from Tomteboda is in fact a specimen of the Kragehul-long type and fits Bemmann & Hahne's definition except regard-ing the shape and greatest width of the blade. T h e blade is widest at the mid-point rather than in the lower third. This trait is also found in otherwise typical Kragehul lance heads from Illerup Adal (Ilkjaeks specimen VOH) and Skedemosse (F954), and should not p r o m p t us to e x d u d e the Tomteboda specimen from the type. The ratio of the blade's width to its length is 0.31 (cf. Bemmann & H a h n e ' s interval o. 1—0.26). At 40 mm, the blade's greatest width exceeds the maximum in Bemmann & Hahne's sample, 37 mm. These differences are small and have to do with the fact that the Tomte-boda lance head is overall an extremely robust specimen of the type.

O t h e r Swedish Kragehul type lance heads of both variants have much more slender



Tomteboda 2001 Up, Solna psh, Raä 39, Kv Polisen 2, grave 34 SHM 21781 Go, Gammelgarn psh, Rommunds SHM ig535 Go, Grötlingbo psh, Bhr ^ 3 0 : 0 7 SHM 18272 Go, Lau psh SHM 22085 La, Jokkmokk psh, Nautasälno SHM 13112 Me, Timrå psh SHM 26987 Sm, Södra Vi psh SHM 30587:13 Ol, Algutsrum psh, Raä 13, Algutsrum, grave 13 SHM 27121:954 Ol, Gärdslösa psh, Skedemosse L t o t 2 9 0 188 2 3 0 195 i g o 227 3 2 0 2 4 7 5 L blade 130 4 5 1 2 0 8 0 7 0 " 5 135 1 2 0 5 L blade / L t o t 4 5 % 2 4 % 5 2 % 4 1 % 3 7 % 5 1 % 4 2 % 4 9 % j Socket L / blade L 1,23 3.18 o.g2 1.44 1.71 °-97 '•37 1.06 ? Blade max width 4 0 ' 7 27 *4 2 1 37 ? 2 1 28 Socket max diam 3 3 18 23 2 0 26 2 3 2 3 • 9 ? Socket min diam ' 9 9 [3 1 0 1 0 ' 5 1 0 1 0 14 Ref Hamilton in prep. Rundkvist 2003b, lig 2:1 VWG 596; Rundkvist 2003a, p. 124 Tillväxten 1927 fig. 17; Rundkvist 2003b, fig. 2:1 Serning 1960, p. 25-26, 127-128.pl. 3 Tillväxten 1962 fig. 10 ÖJG II, p. 181, fig. 16 Hagberg 1967, p. 68

Table 1. Kragehul type lance heads (short & long) found in Sweden and provenanced at least to parish. Measurements in millimetres.

mensions, particularly regarding the diameter of the socket (table 1). This difference may in-dicate that the Tomteboda specimen was not made at the same time as the majority of the Kragehul-long type lance heads. T h e find at Tomteboda of a slightly atypical Kragehul-long lance head in a grave of the Middle Vendel Period supports an extension of the type's use period into the Late Migration Period, as prompted by the Nydam IV find. T h e lance was

clearly an antique when buried, but it need not have been h a n d e d down all the way from the Early Migration Period. Bemmann & Hahne's distinction between a long and a short variant of the Kragehul lance head type, thus, does 1111-fortunately not seem to be a useful chronolo-gical tool outside of Norwegian weapon graves. Thanks to Jan Bemmann, John Hamilton, Katarina Lampel, Asa Norlander and Andreas Ran.


Korta meddelanden 5 5


Bemmann, J. & H a h n e , G. igg4- Waffenfiihrende Grabinventare der j u n g e r e n römischen Kai-serzeit u n d Völkerwanderungszeit in Skan-dinavien. Studie zur zeitlichen O r d n u n g a n h a n d der norwegischen Funde. Bericht der Römisch-Germanischen Kommission 75. Mainz.

Bemmann, G. & Bemmann, J. i g g 8 . Der Opferphitz von Nydam. Die Funde aus den älteren Grabungen: Nydam-I und Nydam-II. Neumunster.

Engelhardt, C. 1867. Kragehul-jyndet. Fynske mose-fund 1. Copenhagen.

- ig7Q. Kragehul og Vimosefundene. Sonderjyske og fynske mosefund 3. Copenhagen.

Fabech, C. i g 8 7 . Krigsbylteoffer - religi0s ceremoni eller politisk manifestation; En unders0gelse af de sydskan-dinaviske krigsbylleofferfund og en vurdering af den-ne offerskiks karakter saml funktion i yngre romerlids och cebire germanertids samfund. Konferensspe-ciale. Arhus.

Hagberg, U. E. ig67. The archaeobgy of Skedemosse vol I. KVHAA. Stockholm.

Hagberg, U. E., Stjernquist, B. & Rasch, M. (eds.). 1 gg i. Obinds jämåldersgravfäll II. Riksantikvarieämbetet och Statens Historiska Museum. Stockholm. Hamilton, J. In prep. Report of the excavations at

Tomteboda in 2001.

Ilkjaer, J. i g g o . Illerup Ådal 1-2. Lanzen und Speere. Jysk Arkaeologisk Selskabs skrifter 25. Hojbjerg. Lloyd-Smith, L. et al. 2002. Tempelvägen. Rafrporljrån Arkeologikonsull 2002:2. Delundersökning av Åby-gravfaltet i Västerhaninge. Upplands-Väsby. Lund Hansen, U. igg4- Skandinavien und der

Kon-tinent zur Völkerwanderungs- und Mero-wingerzeit. Diiwel, Klaus (ed.). RunischeSchrift-kultur in konlinenlal-skandinavischer und -ängel

sächsischer Wechsetbeziehung - internationaks Sym-posium in der Werner-Reimers-Stiftung vom 24. —27. funi 1992 in Had Homburg. Ergänzungsbände

zum Reallexikon der germanischen Altertums-k u n d e 10. Berlin.

Nerman, B. ig35- Die Völkerwanderungszeit Gollands. KVHAA. Stockholm.

Nörgård Jörgensen, A. iggg. Waffen und Gräber. Typo-logische und chronoTypo-logische Studien zu skandinavi-schen Waffengräbern 520/30 bis 900 n.Chr. Nor-diske Fortidsminder Serie B Volume 17. Det Kongelige Nordiske Oldskriftselskab. Copenha-gen.

Rundkvist, M. 2003a. Barshalder 1. A cemetery in Gröt-lingbo and Fide parishes, Golland, Sweden, c. AD I — I I O O . Excavations and finds i 8 2 6 - i 9 y i . Stockholm Archaeological Reports 40. Depart-m e n t of Archaeology, University of StockholDepart-m. - 2003b. Barshabier 2. Studies of Late Iron Age Gotland.


Serning, I. i g ö o . Övre Norrtands järnålder. Skrifter ut-givna av Vetenskapliga Biblioteket i Umeå 4. Umeå.

Tillväxten i g 6 2 . Statens Historiska Museum och Kung-liga Myntkabinettet. Samlingarnas tillväxt 1962. Inv.nr 26800—27064. Stockholm igÖ4.

Vang Petersen, P. i g g 8 . Der IIl- und Nydam-rV-Fund. In Bemmann & Bemmann i g g 8 . VWG = Nerman

ig35-W&G = Nörgård Jörgensen i g g g . OJG II = Hagberg et al. i g g i .

Orsnes, M. i g g 8 . Ejsbel I. Waffenopferfunde des 4.-5. fahrh. nach Chr. Nordiske fortidsminder B11.

Konge-lige Nordiske Oldskriftselskab. C o p e n h a g e n . M a r l i n Rundkvist



Fig. 1. Lance head, type Kragehul-long. Up, Solna psh, Raä 39, Kv Polisen 2, grave 34
Table 1. Kragehul type lance heads (short & long) found in Sweden and provenanced at least to parish


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