A recent discovery made in Østsjælland, Denmark, has the academic community locked in a heated debate. The organization responsible for excavating the site, called the ‘Danish Castle Centre’ or DCC, reported yesterday that they had found a unique motif in the form of a Viking era belt buckle. Dr. Nanna Holm, curator and archaeologist for the DCC since 2014, believes the buckle to be an exceptionally rare depiction of Loki. When speaking to the Danish news site Science, Dr. Holm said:
“The buckle would have sat on a belt or strap. The Loki motif is very, very rare. We really only know Loki’s figure from the finds in Uppåkra Sweden, which is one of the biggest sites from the Viking era. The fact that we suddenly made such a find in Denmark, on Ågård Square, is incredibly exciting.”
Dr. Holm describes the bronze image as depicting Loki, laying on his back while wearing a fugelham. (A costume of feathers, like the one seen in the image to the right.) However, Dr. Holm admits that this interpretation “requires some imagination” as the art is somewhat abstract and there is a lack of supporting contextual evidence.
Notably, Dr. Jens Ulriksen, curator at the Museum Southeast Denmark, concurs with her assessment. When speaking with Science, Dr. Ulriksen explained:
“When forming our interpretation of the motif, we looked for all the figures in Norse mythology who make use of a fugleham. There are not very many. The image could also be the giant Thiazi, Freya, or even Odin, but our immediate guess is that the motif depicts Loki. However, we can not be certain. We are interpreting this image from a 21st century perspective, which may not necessarily match up with what the creator envisioned a thousand years ago.”
Not everyone in the field believes that interpretation, though. Dr. Petersen, curator of the National Museum of Denmark, states that while it is technically possible, he does not see any identifying features that would lead him to believe the piece was related to Loki.
The piece to which the recently discovered belt buckle is being compared was discovered in Uppåkra Sweden. (pictured right) While Dr. Holm claims that both represent the semi shapeshifting legends of the Fugleham, Dr. Petersen believes the design is “clearly different” and that to associate the two now would be premature.
Huginn’s Heathen Hof reached out to the Museum of Southeast Denmark regarding the find and will be bringing you updates on this story as new information emerges from this incredible archaeological site!
HHH would like to offer a special thanks to the Museum of Southeast Denmark for the use of their images, and their assistance with providing us information on this remarkable discovery.