The sovereign seeress

on the use and meaning of a Viking Age chair pendant from Gudme, Denmark.


  • Mads Dengsø Jessen Nationalmuseet
  • Kamilla Ramsøe Majland



miniatures, chair pendants, völva, aristocracy, Gudme, pre-Christian cult, Viking Age


The South Scandinavian chair pendants of the late Viking Age form a famous and much debated find category. They have been associated with the cult of Odin as well as female seeresses. However, their find contexts clearly link the amulets intimately to a female use-sphere and their condition shows that they have been worn intensely. With a new pendant emerging from the detector finds from Gudme, Denmark, the connection between chair amulets and dominant settlements is further strengthened. The female prerogative, the locational aristocratic reference in combination with the chairs association with royal privileges lead to the argument that the amulets must be connected with the deep historical presence of the seeress as a sovereign power across Northern Europe. Her position is explained as a triangulation of Seeress, Odin and King which are all represented as being seated. Consequently, seating is regarded as a main attribute and a recurring and noticeable privilege for all three characters. Thus, the chair en miniature is argued to function as a material anchoring of the socio-symbolic understanding of the seated sovereign seeress.



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2021-04-27 — Updated on 2022-01-11


How to Cite

Jessen, M. D., & Majland, K. R. (2022). The sovereign seeress: on the use and meaning of a Viking Age chair pendant from Gudme, Denmark. Danish Journal of Archaeology, 10, 1–23. (Original work published April 27, 2021)



Research Article