Slavs and Snakes: Material Markers of Elite Identity in Viking Age Poland

Leszek Gardela, Kamil Kajkowski

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

This article offers a new perspective on a diverse corpus of high-status Western Slavic objects from the domain of the Piast dynasty in Poland, dated between the tenth and eleventh centuries AD. It is proposed that the lavish zoomorphic decorations, often depicting snakes, found on jewellery, weapons, and equestrian equipment reflected Western Slavic pre-Christian religious ideas and served as material markers of elite identity. The results of this study lead to a more nuanced understanding of Western Slavic worldviews and their material expressions, paving the way for new investigations into cultural interactions both within and beyond the Slavic homelands.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Archaeology
Number of pages23
ISSN1461-9571
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2020

Keywords

  • Viking Age,
  • Slavs
  • identity
  • elites
  • funerary practices
  • jewellery
  • weapons

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