Period glass necklace project. Female grave 1878-1 3rd-4th Century Himlingoje, Zealand Denmark

In December 2015, I stumbled across a photo that Matt Bunker from the group Wulfheodenas had taken while visiting the museum of Denmark. The photo was of a necklace from a female grave #1878-1  Dated from the 3rd -4th century,  Himlingoje, Zealand, Denmark. I was mesmerized with it. I felt utterly compelled to start researching the necklace and of everything I could find out about this grave. I wanted to recreate the necklace so I could touch it.  Feel it.  The necklace was from the tail end of the Roman Iron age and I have discovered, was a very fascinating time!

My project focuses on the visual recreation of the necklace from grave 1878-1.  My goal is to be able to provide a physical representation of the necklace as it is displayed as well as the known research of the beads.

The grave site was published by Lund Hansen in 1995. The entire archaeological dig of the area spans over 100 years and many graves were discovered. Unfortunately, There are no photographs of this particular dig and only fragmented information on it as it was discovered when putting in a railway in 1878.


Fig. 3’38 grave 1878-1. The terrain in the area of reference, left map, NB denotes the approximate placement of the tomb, North Up.  ^ break the Geland, in the field of reference: NB … with indication of the railway “(surveying and drawing J. Magnus Petersen 18/8). Grave 1878-1.

Reference: Pos .: 589m / 1018m (Fig. 3: 36-37). The site was in the western part of Kiesanhöhe which is now intersected by the railway. It was shown on the site plan as specified by the Finder, see Figure 3:38 (Magnus Petersen – / 6 1878)..

Find circumstances and findings: In earthworks in connection with the construction of the railway in the summer of 1878,

Fig. 3:39. Grave 1878-1.: “2’6” under the ground, the hill “Equivalent to about 0.8 m. According to the railway workers in 1878 by J. Magnus Petersen made.

£ ‘V. , .
Swedish railroad workers  Jensson on the grave near the northeastern boundary of the route, approximately 0.8 m below the surface of the gravel ridge.

From page 98 “Himlingøje, Seeland, Europa: Ein Gräberfeld der jüngeren römischen Kaiserzeit auf Seeland, seine Bedeutungund internationalen Beziehungen” by Lund Hansen.

The following description of the beads is from the book Himlingoje, Seeland, Europa by Lund Hansen.

NM C 3249.

Glasperlen, klar mittelgrün, 23 St., Dm. 1,5-1,9 cm, Höhe 0,7-1,6 cm, Dm. der Durchlochung 0,6 cm. Fig. 4:15, Taf. 12.

NM C 3250.

Glasperlen, schwarz und matt mit umlaufenden roten und/oder gelben Linien an der breitesten Stelle, 27 St. Elf Perlen besitzen rote Wellenlinien, sieben eine gelbe Wellenlinie zwischen zwei roten geraden Linien und neun sind mit einer gelben Wellenlinie versehen. Dm. 1,1-1,2 cm, Höhe 0,5-0,9 cm, Dm. der Durchlochung ca. 0,5 cm. Fig. 4:15, Taf. 12.

I have done my best to translate the description into English. It is as follows.

NM C 3249

Glass beads, clear mid green, 23 St., Dm. 1.5-1.9 cm, height 0.7-1.6 cm, Dm. Of perforation 0.6 cm. Fig. 4:15, pl. 12,.

NM C 3250

Glass beads, black and matt with revolving red and / or yellow lines at the widest point, 27 total.  Eleven beads have red wavy lines, seven yellow wavy line between two red straight lines and nine are with a yellow wavy line provided. Dm. 1.1-1.2 cm, height 0.5-0.9 cm, Dm. Of perforation 0,5 cm. Fig. 4:15, pl. 12,.



Photograph by Matt Bunker.

Where is Himlingoje?

Himlingoje.8 (1)

Himlingoje is located in Denmark. Grave 1878-1 is one of several graves that were unearthed.  The contents of grave 1878-1 were as follows:

Grave 1878-1. Female Inhumation containing a drinking horn of glass; a bronze-bound wooden pail; two fragmentary ceramic vessels; a swastika-shaped fibula of bronze; a hair pin of silver; a golden finger ring of snake head type; spindle whorl of bronze; 50 glass beads; an amber bead.


Photo and grave contents from the National Museum of Denmark and discussions with Matt Bunker.


The project.

My first step was find glass that matched the glass beads. The black, red, and yellow was simple, however the transparent blue green was going to be a bit of a challenge. Not seeing the necklace in person and matching color off of a photograph made matching difficult. As fascinated as I was by the pale blue green beads. It was actually a fairly simple and common glass to make. The blue green colors on the original are created by iron impurities in the glass.

I decided to use Effetre Aqua pale transparent. It is a pale blue green glass. It is an Italian glass and Effetre have stayed true to their glass recipes for hundreds of years. Since I do not have the ability to make the glass. This was going to be the best I could do.


I also used a transparent black, medium red, and light yellow glass. Made by  Effetre.


Starting to make the beads.

I used a modern torch to make the beads. It takes propane and oxygen. I use the Nortel mega minor burner.

I started my lampworking with the transparent blue green beads. Worked making my beads by reproducing the beads from one side of the  photograph of the original necklace to the other. Crossing off every bead on the photo as they were made. Then I started the opaque black red and yellow beads and marked them off as they were completed in the same fashion. This is where I got a bit frustrated as I could only see one side of the original necklace and had to “guess” what the opposite side looked like based on the design of the bead.

It took me several days of lamp working to complete the beads. I have spent a total of about 200 hours making the beads and researching.

As each set was lamp worked, annealed, and cooled, I put them on a string in the order they were on the original.


At this point after comparing the beads and the necklace I decided that I needed to remake some of the beads as my reproduction was not matching as well as I wanted it to.

My final result I am pretty happy with. I am going to do a light acid etch on the beads still so it looks more like the grave necklace and give them a matt finish.


Lastly, the original necklace for compare.


Thank you for reading my blog. Stay tuned for updates!

By Dena Cowlishaw- Morford MKA Baroness Maricka Sigrunsdotter, Kingdom of An Tir