This woman with all here possessions is one of about 100 graves investigated at the Viking Age Port of Trade at Fröjel, Gotland, Sweden. It is an example showing how and where on the body we find the objects she has had on her, when buried. I am often asked the question as to how objects were worn, and how they were connected to other objects etc. It must be understood that it is quite often rather difficult to tell the whole story. First, we have the problem with conservation. Most material made of bone, wood and other organic material have vanished. Then we have the problem with the preservation of objects, like of iron. They are quite often broken into small pieces, or so rusty that it is more or less impossible to tell what they have been. Chains for instance made of iron are frequently just left as pieces.
The objects best preserved are those made of stone, silver, gold or bronze (that last one can sometimes be badly damaged, depending on the composition of the soil).
Now, besides the problems of preservation, we have another serious problem when it comes to understand how the artefacts were used and worn. The graves have been in the ground for more than a thousand years, and agricultural work as well as natural changes, like trees growing on top of the graves, have quite often seriously disturbed the graves, and frequently changed the position of both bones and artefacts.
Many graves on Gotland have also been plundered, mostly obviously during the 19th century.
Putting all these factors together means that it is not that easy to get a very clear picture to answer those questions. But realising the need to give a clear view of what we know and what we can guess, I am on my way to publish a book and a CD-R about the hundred graves from Fröjel. I will in this case concentrate on putting a lot of effort into giving as much detailed information as possible both about the position of the objects, and the construction of the objects. Hopefully, I will be able to have it ready before the end of this year.
I give you this photo, just to give an example of how we, when we are lucky, can find a more or less undisturbed grave, but still how difficult it is to get a 100 % accurate interpretation of the position of the artefacts. You can get a high resolution photo of the upper part of the lady here (1,7 Mb).