Invitation systems and identification in Late Iron Age southern Scandinavia? The gold foil figures from a new perspective.

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The ability to identify oneself has always been important, because people in all periods entered
into relationships in which their role depended upon their identity. This must have been of great
importance to long-distance connections in prehistory, in cases where people did not know the
appearance of the foreign individuals they were to connect with. The aim of this article is to
present an idea of how a system of identification may have been established. It is intended as
‘food for thought’ on the subject. Gold foil figures could have played a role in prehistoric
invitation systems, the identification of a person’s true identity and in the dependency upon
magnates in southern Scandinavia during the 6th–8th centuries AD. The gold foil figures may
have been tokens issued by the magnate and served as invitations to special events, at a time
when there was apparently a preoccupation with organising cult activities at the elite residences
and restricting places at and admission to such events. The figures did not guarantee that it was
the right guests who arrived on these occasions, but presenting this type of token may have
minimised the risk of allowing in impostors.
TidsskriftDanish Journal of Archaeology
Udgave nummer2015:1
Sider (fra-til)64-74
Antal sider11
StatusUdgivet - 8 mar. 2016


  • Arkæologi