Woven wire chains of this type
(Viking wire weaving, Viking knit, Viking chain knitting) were
found at Birka (ca 800 - 900 AD) and also in the Roman, Greek and Byzantine
civilizations (4th century BC to 1st century AD). Chains such as this can
be found with pendants, in multiple strands with adornments, for hanging items
from diadems and earrings, for earrings themselves, on cloak pins and as
Also see What
Should We Call This Type of Chain?
You may be interested in joining the Historical Chain Makers Yahoo
Group. It is usually a quiet group, but we are happy to answer questions.
Join us and discuss what you have made or are planning on making.
It is not always obvious from photographs exactly how a piece was
constructed. Here are some references for what I believe is Viking Wire
Weaving / Viking Chain Knitting / Viking Knit.
Ancient Gold: The Wealth of the Thracians
Marazov, Ivan, General Editor. Ancient Gold: The Wealth of the
Thracians Treasures from the Republic of Bulgaria Harry N Abrams, Inc
Publishers. 1997 ISBN 0-8109-1992-3. Page 117 Interlaced chain
of twisted wire. The chain has seams!
A Golden Legacy: Ancient Jewelry from the Burton Y. Berry Collection at the Indiana University Art Museum
Rudolph, Wolf. A Golden Legacy: Ancient Jewelry from the Burton Y.
Berry Collection at the Indiana University Art Museum. Indiania University
Art Museum, Bloomington, Indiana. 1995 ISBN 0-253-20913-7
page 164 is #35. A Group of Jewelry. Eastern Mediterranean, Hellenistic, ca late
third through first centuries BC. "The necklace is composed of a
long, very tightly knit, doubled loop-in-loop chain strung with beads and charm
pendants." It is a very pretty chain, but the photo is too small to
see exactly how it is made.
page 256 is #71 Set of Jewelry. Eastern Mediterranean, late Roman
Imperial, fourth century AC. "Thirteen elements of quadruple
loop-in-loop chain alternate with twelve octagonal tubular beads of light to
medium grayish green glass of varying lengths and thicknesses."
The chain segments appear to vary between about 2 and 2.5 cm. The photo is
too small to see exactly how it is made.
page 309 is 96 Pectoral Cross with Chain and Medallion. Anatolia?
Byzantine, fourteenth century AC. The chain is described as the multiple
loop-in-loop type. This one I think is probably not loop in loop.
There seem to be joins at regular intervals.
Masterpieces of Ancient Jewelry: Exquisite Objects from the Cradle of Civilization
Price, Judith. Masterpieces of Ancient Jewelry. Running
Press Book Publishers, Philadelphia. 2008. ISBN
978-0-7624-3386-5. Page 97 - Gold Necklace with Medallion Pendant.
Byzantium, late 6th century CE.
Jewellery of the Ancient World (Lerner Archaeology Series: Digging Up the Past)
Rosenthal, Renate. Jewelry of the Ancient World. Lerner
Publications Company, Minneapolis. 1974. ISBN 0-8225-0830-3.
Page 36 - A Roman necklace with a coin pendant. The coin bears the image
of the emperor Domitian, who ruled during the first century A.D.
Traces of the Central Asian culture in the North: Finnish-Soviet Joint Scientific Symposium held in Hanasaari, Espoo, 14-21 January 1985 (Memoires de la Societe finno-ougrienne)
Traces of the Central Asian Culture in the North. Finnish-Soviet Joint
Scientific Symposium Held in Hanasaari, Espoo. 14-21 January 1985.
Edited by Ildiko Lehtienen. Suomalais-Ugrilainen Seura, Helsinki
1986. ISBN 951-940-02-7. Article - Jewellery or Technology Imported?
by Leena Tomantera. An article about the necklace from the Hameelinna
Linnaniemi treasure hoard. My replica is www.AncientWire.com/book.htm
the last picture.
Finland (Ancient peoples and places;vol.53)
Kivikoski, Ella. Finland. Frederick a. Praeger Publishers, New
York, Washington, 1967. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number:
66-11423. Plate 64 - necklace from a silver hoard found at Lamsa, Kuusamo,
Northern Finland. My replica is www.AncientWire.com/book.htm
the first picture.
Geijer, Agnes. Birka III, Die Textilfunde aus den Grabern.
Almqvist & Wiksells Boktryckeri-Aktiebolag, Uppsala 1938. This book is
written in German. Graves 366, 557, 559, 581. Hollow ovals, encased
glass beads and flat trim. My replicas of the hollow ovals and glass beads
are at www.AncientWire.com/book.htm
ISKOS 4. Suomen Muinaismuistoyhdistys Finska Fornminnesforeningen.
Helsinki 1984 Helsingfors. Article - Braid, Weave and Foxtail by Leena
Tomantera and Article - The Crucifix from Taskula, Maaria by Paula Purhonen.
ISBN 951-9056-67-X. Leena Tomantera has done much research on this type of
What Life Was Like Among Druids And High Kings (Celtic Ireland AD 400-1200)
The Tara Brooch - I have not been able to find a really good picture of the
broken end of this chain. This book has the best picture I have seen of
it. It appears that the chain was pulled to break it, and the diameter
decreases at the broken end. This would happen with a hollow tube, but not
with something like loop in loop. What Life Was Like Among Druids and High
Celtic Ireland AD 400 - 1200 by Time Life Books, Alexandria, 1998.
ISBN 978-0783554556. The Brooch is housed in the National Museum of
Viking-Age Gold & Silver of Scotland (Ad 850-1100)
Graham-Campbell, James. The Viking-Age Gold and Silver of
Scotland. National Museums of Scotland, 1995. ISBN 0948636 62
9. Shows a drawing of
Trichonoply chain work as a series of U's, instead of a series of cursive L's on
page 31. Figure 62 on page 156 and Plate 74 on page 252 show what could be
Weaving. This book references:
Wilson, D M and C E Blunt. 1961 The Trewhiddle hoard.
Archaeologia 98, 75-122. The Trewhiddle hoard contains a scourge with a
chain, that from photographs looks as if it could be Wire Weaving. This
article says that it "was manufactured using the Trichinoply technique
(also known as tatting)... The chain is plaited on nails through a hole bored in
a piece of wood." If the chain is indeed made in this way it would
produce a series of U's instead of a series of cursive L's. This article
says the chain on the Tara Brooch is made in the same
Von Boehn, Max. Ornaments. Benjamin Blom, Inc, 1970.
Page 155 shows a chain with a Man's Head. I have seen this in several
places and I think it is Wire Weaving.
Greek and Roman Jewellery
Higgins, Reynold Alleyne. Greek and Roman Jewellery. London,
Methuen 1961. ISBN 0520036018. Page 142 shows the same necklace as
above - Satyr's Head, from Caere about 500 BC. Page 152 - part of a
necklace from Tarquinii, 4th century BC. Page 186 - Necklace with Wheel
Finials and Coin of Domitian as pendant from Egypt, 1st - 2nd century
Jewelry, 7000 years: An international history and illustrated survey from the collections of the British Museum
Tait, Hugh, editor. Jewelry 7000 years. Harry N Abrams Inc, New
York, 1986. ISBN 0-8109-1157-4. Item 191 Roman necklace with pendant
1st century AD. Item 222 Byzantine necklace from Egypt c 600
Primitive and Folk Jewelry [over 1,900 illustrations]
Gerlach, Martin, editor. Primitive and Folk Jewelry. Dover
Publications, New York. 1971. ISBN 0-486-22747-2. Roman
woman's necklace from Egypt. Multiple strands with coin
Ancient Gold Jewelry at the Dallas Museum of Art
Deppert-Lippitz, Barbara. Ancient Gold Jewelry at the Dallas Museum
of Art. Dallas Museum of Art, 1996. Pages 78 & 79 are
possible chains. The one on page 79 shows a dent in the side of the chain,
which should mean that the chain is hollow and not solid. Page 83 shows a
loop in loop chain. One of the loops can be seen on the left side where a
neighboring loop has broken.
JEWELRY THROUGH THE AGES
Gregorietti, Guido. Jewelry Through the Ages. American Heritage,
New York 1969. Page 59 Necklace of thick, tubular shaped chain meshwork
with a head of Achelous, from Praeneste, Etruscan, 4th century BC. Museo
Nazionale di Villa Giulia, Rome. Page 132 Gold Earring with three plaited
chain pendants terminating in spherical stones, Byzantine. Thyssen
collection, Lugano. Even though the description says braided, I
think this is loop in loop.
Art of Jewelry
Hughes, Graham. The Art of Jewelry, a Survey of Craft and Creation.
Gallery Books, New York 1972. ISBN 0831704586. Page 45 In this gold
necklace with the head of Domitian. "Very few jewelers today can make
by hand such a chain." Page 203 A 1st century AD gold necklace found
at Pompeii. National Museum, Naples.
Haikko Silver Hoard, SW Finland. The hoard was deposited in the last
decades of the 12th century at the earliest. The link that I had was from
the National Board of Antiquities, The National Museum of Finland, but the link
no longer works.
The Trewhiddle hoard was found with coins dating the deposition to around
872-5. From Trewhiddle, Cornwall, England. The Scourge (whip) might
be the correct technique.
Erikstorp. Parish of Odeshog, Ostergotland. Discovered in 1875.
This hoard contains among other things, a silver chain which may be the correct
Gold Necklace - Roman,
Yale-French Excavations at
- This gold necklace was
found in a private house in an earthenware jar that also contained a hoard of
coins. It must have been a highly valued possession, for both its precious
material and its exquisite workmanship. The intricate braided chain suspends a
pendant that is composed of a circle with four pelta designs on either side.
Minute beads of gold adorn the perimeter of the circle, and four tiny beads hang
from the lowest point; this technique is known as "granulation" and
appears in Greek jewelry as early as the second millennium BCE.
This object is not currently on view. Note: I am not positive about
this one from only viewing the photo, however there are a couple places that
look like they might be seams, and the chain has a spiral twist to
An artifact that could be a bone drawplate can be found here - second item