Thor's hammers

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Thor's hammers are perhaps the most well known pendant type from the Viking age. They come in many styles, some extremely decorative some not. Single Thors hammer pendants could be fashioned from silver, amber or copper alloy. The archaeological evidence shows that thor's hammers of silver were not simply drawn on a string or chain, they were suspended from a ring that was used to close a silver chain. This goes for the highly decorated versions as well as the very simplest silver hammers.

Thor's hammer pendants are perhaps the most common form of jewellery found in Scandinavian male graves - though the sample remains relatively small. Occasionally Thor's hammers are found with one, two or three beads. Jensen says that for hammers from graves with identifiable gender, 72% of the finds are from female graves (Jensen, Bo (2010). Viking Age Amulets in Scandinavia and Western Europe, Oxford, p. 107)

Thor's hammer rings

A common type found in Sweden and Russia is that of the Thor's Hammer Ring, which consists of a partly twisted iron rod made into a neck ring - to this is added small Thor's hammers or sometimes rings or spirals. The Thor's hammers on these rings are often very crude and could actually be representations of spades or clubs, though they are normally seen to be Thor's hammers.

Credits: with thanks to Caroline Buckley and Dave Constantine.