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The Birka dragonhead from Black Earth Harbour

The ‘Birka dragon’ symbol is The Birka dragonhead from Black Earth Harboursynonymous with the famous Viking Age own of that name, an association born from the 1887 discovery of a casting mould depicting a dragonhead. Recent excavations in Black Earth Harbour at Birka have yielded a dress pin that can, almost 150 years later, be directly linked to this mould. This artefact introduces a unique ‘Birka style’ to the small corpus of known Viking Age dragonhead dress pins. It can be discussed and explored in terms of the artefact's manufacture, function and chronology, and its connections to ship figureheads.

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