Well-preserved Thor’s hammer amulet found in Sweden

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Swedish archaeologists have discovered a Thor’s hammer amulet in Ysby in the country’s southwestern Halland province. What is particularly surprising is that the find is unique in Halland, as a hammer of this type has never been found in the region before.

The find probably dates back to the 10th – 11th century, i.e. the late Viking Age, and seems to be made of lead. It may have been gilded or silvered, but this cannot be determined until it has been cleaned and preserved and any traces of this may become visible.

10th century Thor’s hammer amulet at the time of discovery in Ysby, Sweden [Credit: Kulturmiljö Halland]
Thor’s hammer amulet [Credit: Patricia Torvalds/Radio Sweden]

The hammer was a symbol of the god Thor who, according to the myth, wielded a hammer called Mjölner as a weapon. The Thor’s hammer found in Ysby is 3 centimetres (1.18 inches) long and was probably worn as an amulet or a piece of jewellery. A hole can be seen in the handle where it may have been attached to a ring or strap. Several similar amulets have previously been found in Scandinavia, but this is the only one of its kind in Halland so far.

It is believed the Thor’s Hammer was carried from Ysby when the area began to be Christianised. One theory is that these large, ornate Thor’s hammers were a clear marker for those still worshipping the old gods when Christianity began to take root in Scandinavia.

Torshammare by kmh3d on Sketchfab

In addition to the striking Thor’s hammer, the excavations also revealed flint flakes, black ware (pottery) and a metal fitting that could be from the Viking Age or early Middle Ages. There were also remains in the form of pits, postholes and hearths. None of these sites have yet been dated by sample analysis, but the finds and the shape of some of the hearths possibly suggest a Viking Age date for the site.

Source: Kulturmiljo Halland [October 23, 2022]

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