The Discovery Of Thor’s Hammer – The Mystery Of Viking Amulets

A 10th century Viking artifact resembling the Hammer of Thor was discovered. This discovery has solved a long mystery surrounding more than 1.000 ancient amulets found all over northern Europe. These relics, known as the Mjöllnir amulets, appear to depict hammers, which historians have linked to the Norse god of thunder, Thor. However, this could not be concluded with certainty as their shapes are not conclusive, and none of them contained inscriptions revealing their identity.

Another similar pendant has been found in Købelev, on the Danish island of Lolland, which is the first one to be discovered with an inscription. The runic text reads “Hmar x is”, which translates to “this is a hammer”.  Cast in bronze, and likely plated with silver, tin and gold, the 1,100-year-old pendant shows that Thor’s myth deeply influenced Viking jewellery. It seems that his is the only hammer-shaped pendant with a runic inscription (so far found). This is a good indication tha the pendants are in fact depicting hammers.

According to the Norse mythology, (which I have mentioned countless times in this blog) Thor is a hammer-wielding god associated with thunder, lightning, storms, oak trees, strength, friendship, honour, the protection of mankind, healing and the fertility of the land along with his wife Sif. Thor is a prominently mentioned god throughout the recorded history of the Germanic peoples, from the Roman occupation of regions of Germania, to the tribal expansions of the Migration Period, to the high popularity of this deity during the Viking Age, when, in the face of the process of the Christianization of Scandinavia, the Mjölnir amulets were worn in defiance and Norse pagan personal names containing the name of the god bear witness to his popularity. In fact, Thor was much more worshiped than his father, Odin.

Featuring an interlacing ornament on one side of the hammer head and the short runic inscription on the other, the newly discovered Mjöllnir amulet is believed to have been made by a local craftsmen. Fragments of silver needles and a mould for making pendants indicate that the jewellery was produced in a silversmith’s workshop on Lolland island.

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