Amulets with Christian symbolism have been found in the oldest extant town in Denmark; they may shed new light on the Christian roots of Scandinavian society.
Three leaden pendants featuring Christian crosses dating from the early 800s have been unearthed from an excavation site in Ribe, a former Viking capital, suggesting that the first Christians had established themselves in Danish society several generations earlier than previously assumed, Danish Radio reported.
“This is new knowledge of early Christianity in Denmark. We are used to crediting Harald Bluetooth with christening the Danes in around the year 960. But this shows that people in Ribe wore Christian amulets more than 150 years before this actually happened, Søren Sindbæk, a professor at Aarhus University, said, calling it “sensational.”
The three amulets all bear X-shaped crosses, which is also known as a saltire or “Saint Andrew’s cross” and is seen on the flag of Scotland and reflected in Russia’s Navy ensign, among other present-day national symbols.
“This type of cross was very common in that period. They are often encountered in France or Germany, which were already Christian at that point. However, it is believed that people in Denmark were still worshipping Old Norse gods at that time,” Sindbæk emphasized.
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The amulets were all found in a smithy, where the molds were also…