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Viking Bowl Mount

This tiny bronze mount was found near Arnside in 2001.

It is only 3cm high and dominated by a stern human face with large oval eyes, down-turned mouth and ears sticking out at brow level. When complete it would have had a matching mask facing up, in mirror image from the bottom of the decorative panel. It is Irish in style and the round settings and cells in the central panel were inlaid with bright yellow enamel against a red background.

This would have been an item valued for its decoration. Items like it were often carried by Viking raiders and settlers or traded as gifts or dowry items. This piece had been reused many times, as we can see from the additional holes drilled through it.

It’s special to the museum as it has found locally – although similar items have been found as far away as Viking Graves in Norway. It probably dates to the 8th Century AD. It’s another small clue to our understanding of what was happening locally during this period when there was possibly a port at Arnside, as it is well placed to link the mainland with the Isle of Man, Ireland and Scandinavia.

The bowl mount is on display in the Kendal and Westmorland Gallery.