Ancient Wire Historical References

Ancient Wire Historical References

Woven wire chains of this type (Viking wire weaving, Viking knit, Viking chain knitting) were found at Birka (ca 800 - 900 AD) and also in the Roman, Greek and Byzantine civilizations (4th century BC to 1st century AD).  Chains such as this can be found with pendants, in multiple strands with adornments, for hanging items from diadems and earrings, for earrings themselves, on cloak pins and as trim. 

Also see What Should We Call This Type of Chain?

You may be interested in joining the Historical Chain Makers Yahoo Group.  It is usually a quiet group, but we are happy to answer questions.  Join us and discuss what you have made or are planning on making.

It is not always obvious from photographs exactly how a piece was constructed.  Here are some references for what I believe is Viking Wire Weaving / Viking Chain Knitting / Viking Knit. Thousands of booksellers - millions of books.




Viking Warrior was a Woman
A warriors grave was found at Birka in the late 1800's and classified as a man due to the weapons and horses found in the grave.  Examination of the skeleton and DNA analysis has shown that this warrior was a woman. This woman was also buried with woven wire!

The image on historiska . se shows what seems to be a cone shape.  It was created with 7 starting loops forming columns that are inconsistently placed.  There are 8 rows of wire forming the loops.  Beginning with the second row, it is double weave.  These loops are formed right over left.  I am right handed and form my loops left over right.  Perhaps the maker was left handed?  According to Birka III, a granulated silver cone and some ovals of wire were also found.  

The wire weaving in the grave
The items in the Birka Grave Bj 581
A female Viking warrior confirmed by genomics
An officer and a gentlewoman from the Viking army in Birka
Viking warrior found in Sweden was a woman, researchers confirm
Wikipedia Article


Haikko Silver Hoard, SW Finland.  The hoard was deposited in the last decades of the 12th century at the earliest.  The link that I had was from the National Board of Antiquities, The National Museum of Finland, but the link no longer works.


The Trewhiddle hoard was found with coins dating the deposition to around 872-5.  From Trewhiddle, Cornwall, England.  The Scourge (whip) might be the correct technique.


Erikstorp. Parish of Odeshog, Ostergotland.  Discovered in 1875.  This hoard contains among other things, a silver chain which may be the correct technique. 


Braided Gold Necklace - Roman, A.D. 165-256 - Syrian, Yale-French Excavations at Dura-Europos - This gold necklace was found in a private house in an earthenware jar that also contained a hoard of coins. It must have been a highly valued possession, for both its precious material and its exquisite workmanship. The intricate braided chain suspends a pendant that is composed of a circle with four pelta designs on either side. Minute beads of gold adorn the perimeter of the circle, and four tiny beads hang from the lowest point; this technique is known as "granulation" and appears in Greek jewelry as early as the second millennium BCE.  This object is not currently on view.  Note:  I am not positive about this one from only viewing the photo, however there are a couple places that look like they might be seams, and the chain has a spiral twist to it.


An artifact that could be a bone drawplate can be found here - second item down.


Tiurinlinna (Räisälä) hoard objects - National Museum of Finland