Reconstruction of Birka B8 pattern

The Swedish museum, Historiska museet, added more – high resolution – pictures of some of the Birka bands. Thanks to this we can now expand Agnes Geijer’s work and decipher more patterns. I hope they will never stop adding more and more high res photos ❤

The very tiny band from grave 977 with the pattern b8, is really extraordinary, because it uses only 7 cards for the pattern, but still you can see some of the pattern elements that are also present in other, wider bands, like the “S” shape or the swastica.

Here are the photos from Historiska museet (grave 977):


And here are my attempts at deciphering the pattern, based on these pictures:

Created with GIMP
Created with GIMP
Created with GIMP

On this third fragment you can see the “S” shape with little squares in top and bottom (or beginning and end), that is also present for example on the b6 pattern from grave 965. (Swasticas are present in most of Birka patterns, though not all).

I am using this pattern to make a band for a Gokstad-themed male outfit, because remnants of a very tiny (probably 5mm wide(?)) band brocaded with gold-wrapped thread were found in that burial. (I’m weaving it on the Oseberg horizontal loom, that’s why it doesn’t come out very even on the edges.)

b8 birka band with gold wrapped thread brocading 2
b8 birka band with gold wrapped thread brocading

If you would like to order a band like this one, please visit my Etsy shop online.