Een Scandinavische amulet uit Middag (Gr.)


  • Jelle Schokker
  • Henny Groenendijk


A Scandinavian amulet/figurine from Middag (province of Groningen). In 2004 a copper-alloy figurine, in the shape of a gripping animal, was found by a metal-detectorist in the Middag district of the Dutch province of Groningen. Similar artefacts were as yet unknown among the metal objects which have been found, mainly by metal-detectorists, in the Netherlands. In order to determine its date and region of manufacture, the corpus of artefacts that incorporate the “gripping beast” motif was studied. It appeared that the adoption of this motif in Scandinavia and Great Britain dates back to the 8th century AD. Parallels to decorations in the Lindisfarne gospel can be observed. However, only a small group of Scandinavian finds, carved out of jet and amber, show this motif adapted to the three-dimensional. There are striking morphological similarities between these finds and the figurine from Middag. Because of these similarities, both authors are of the opinion that the gripping beast of Middag is likely to originate from Scandinavia, and, like its Scandinavian parallels, to date from the 9th or 10th century AD. Possibly the artefact, which may have served as an amulet, belonged to a Scandinavian immigrant.