‘Incredible’ artefact designed to ward off evil is unearthed near Sleaford

The Viking die found in a field in Osbournby.
The Viking die found in a field in Osbournby.

An ‘incredible’ archaeological artefact said to resemble ‘Thor’s hammer’ has been unearthed in a field near Sleaford.

The object was found by a metal detectorist in Osbournby - and has been identified as a Viking die - used to make gold or silver jewellery.

The viking die would have been used to make pendants for necklaces such as this - in a design believed to have the power to ward off evil.

The viking die would have been used to make pendants for necklaces such as this - in a design believed to have the power to ward off evil.

Dated to between 870-970AD, the copper-alloy die was designed to make filagree pendants with the power to ward off evil and bad luck.

It has been offically recorded by Lincolnshire County Council (LCC) for the Portable Antiquities Scheme - which keeps a record of all historical artefacts found across the UK.

LCC finds liaison officer Dr Adam Daubney tweeted to say the Viking die was ‘incredible’ - adding: “Only a handful of these are known in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire. They were used to manufacture highly sophisticated silver or gold jewellery.”

The die is described as being ‘of Viking cultural design’, with a T-shape terminal which ‘resembles Thor’s hammer’.

The Portable Antiquities Scheme says the object ‘could reflect cultural osmosis with the pre-Christian Norse mythology and Christian graphic signs’ - both apotropaic devices’ (having the power to avert evil or bad luck).

Anyone who discovers a potential artefact in Lincolnshire should contact Dr Adam Daubney by emailing adam.daubney@lincolnshire.gov.uk.