Two fragments of a house-shaped reliquary of Irish-type have been found in Norway. Most likely dating from the 7th to 9th centuries AD, the pieces probably represent loot that was stolen during Viking raids on Ireland or Scotland.
In early medieval Ireland house-shaped reliquaries were used to store saint’s relics and played an important role in religious affairs. They were often richly adorned, to reflect the status of the relics inside and as result were targeted during Viking attacks.
According to archaeologist Bernt Egil Tafjordfjellne, the two newly discovered Norwegian pieces were found by a metal detectorist working in a field near the town of Hokksund. They consist of a bronze panel, ornamented with enamel and millefiori pieces and a bronze hinge, also decorated with enamel, which would have held the shrine lid in place (like the Monymusk shrine below).
These pieces are a significant addition to small but important corpus of Irish-type reliquaries from Scandinavia, which also include examples from Melhus and Setnes in Norway as well as the magnificent Copenhagen Shrine.
Nytt vikingfunn i Eiker (by Carsten Øhrn)