The Jewel of The Baltic Sea

Amber. The true jewel of the Baltic, quite common even these days. Visitors of the Polish beaches still search for it for fun. It is said to have some medical qualities, supposedly helping curing thyloid gland sicknesses or heart conditions. But for the ancient Romans, and later Slavs and Vikings it was a true jewel.  Romans gave beginning to what is called the Amber Road, the amber trade route, passing through all major Baltic states (recent denarii findings in Gdańsk confirm it). Romans used it in jewellery making earrings, brooches, necklaces of it. The same practice was used by the Slavs, Prussians(Eesti) and the Norse. The good example is Truso, Norse harbour on the Borussian land, where the very large and beautiful amount of amber objects was found. Our favourite is: cross-haped Thor’s hammer Mjollnir necklace piece, a probable proof of activities of christian missionaries and the Norse pragmatism (a word of explanation here: Thor, the Norse god of Thunder was considered to be the saviour of mankind, because it is he who will fight the Midgardsorm wurm and defeat it during the Ragnarok; Jesus Christ is believed to be a savior by the Christians too. A fresh pragmatic Norse convert would bind the two saviours in one gladly; Norse never had problems with adapting christianity as long as other gods could be worshipped :)). The second favourite is the set of pieces for Hnefatafl (King’s Table) board game (all phtotographs taken by Wilkomir & Vigdis)

Raw amber waiting for refinement. Truso finindings, Museum of Elbląg.

Raw amber waiting for refinement. Truso findings, Museum of Elbląg.

Various amber items, including a cross-shaped Thor's hammer necklace and A Hnefatafl board game pieces set. Truso findings., Museum of Elbląg.

Various amber items, including a cross-shaped Thor’s hammer necklace and A Hnefatafl board game pieces set. Truso findings., Museum of Elbląg.

Amber refiner’s workshop, bench and tools. Truso findings, Museum of Elbląg.

Amber necklace on a Viking woman. Elbląg Museum.

Amber necklace on a Viking woman. Elbląg Museum.

Advertisements