Keys Symbols of the Viking Women’s Independence

Viking Age Key Norway

This bronze key from Heggum farm in Røyken in the Oslofjord is dated to the Viking Age. (Photo: Eirik Irgens Johnsen, Oldsakssamlingen)

It is found a large number of keys from the Viking Age (c. 800-1066 AD) both in female graves and as individual findings. Bronze keys were used as a status symbol by women and were often small works of art worn on a belt around the waist.

The key from Heggum farm (Old Norse: Heggheimar) is 9.5 centimeters long and ornamented with intertwined animal figures. It was found in a burial mound and may have belonged to a powerful housewife. The day she got married, she got the keys to the farm doors and treasure chests as a visible sign of her position and power.

Viking Age PadlockReplica: A push key padlock from the Viking Age was found on the Björkö island in Lake Mälaren, Sweden. (Photo: historicallocks.com)

Women’s Work Duties

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