The medallion is an imitation of a Byzantine
original in gold and enamel. The original was found in the
ancient section of Oslo in 1877 during a railroad
construction. It has been securely stored at the Museum of
Cultural Heritage in Oslo, but has been brought out into the
light for the centenary of the museum’s building in 2004.
The medallion is made from a thin sheet of
gold and enamel using a special cloisonče technique where the
small cells in the pattern are filled with enamel. The pattern
is a Greek cross made up by transparent dark green enamel with
surrounding white, opaque cells. The style is characteristic
for Byzantine enamelled works during the period 800 AD to about
the year 1000. It is almost certain that the medallion is
produced in the Byzantium region during this time frame.
The original has no traces of any attachment
on its reverse side and may have been fixed to a frame of some
sort. One cannot, therefore, firmly state what its original
purpose was. Its size and similarity to some Danish finds
indicate a finger ring decoration, but it may have been a
decoration on a larger artifact such as a box, or it may have
been worn as an amulet.
One may wonder how such an item ended up in
Oslo. It illustrates the close communication between Scandinavia
and the East Roman Empire during the Viking era and early
The imitation is made in gilded sterling
silver and enamel. The pattern of the original has distinct
irregularities, these are reconstructed in the imitation to
make it look the same as the original. The diameter is18 mm.
Made as pendant, finger ring and pair of