Home     Site Map     Village Forum     Search     Help     About us

Home Publications Home

Title Synopsis Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Bibliography Catalogue Appendix

Plate 5

York, Yorkshire, Grave Slab

Mid 10th century

York SlabThe York grave stone is the most recently discovered of the Sigurd examples, being unearthed during the York Minster excavations. The large flat grave cover has carving on both long sides and on the top of the slab, although the latter is extremely eroded and hence difficult to decipher. One side contains ornamental interlace, the other portrays a figure between two dragons, presumably Sigurd and the multiple beast version of Fafnir found on the Ramsund stone. The figure between the two serpents is realistic, although the pose is awkward. He has his legs spread in the "splits", and along with the upward stabbing sword, would seem appropriate for the attack from the pit. The stance may be argued to have come from ornamental treatment of figures in the earlier Oseberg styles, but as J.Lang argues, this stone belongs to a later period, where stylised and ornamental poses have progressed to a freedom restrained only by the narratives involved. This does not mean that all stylistic conventions are disregarded, only those which interfere with the progression of the narrative. The dragons are more serpent like than the Isle of Man versions, the gaping jaws still being present, but one head being flattened to a blunt triangular shape. Each dragon has twisted its body into two separate knots, with the body being ornamented only by one incised line running down the middle of each body segment. Finally the relative proportions of the figure and the dragons are different from the Isle of Man examples. Sigurd is larger, which consequently may diminish the impact that the dragons have.Figure 3

Return to Chapter 4, Ref. Plate 5

York, Yorkshire, Grave Slab. Reproduced from the Yorkshire Archaeological Journal

This document maintained by Site Manager
Text and photos © (unless otherwise stated)
1990-1 Shona E McAndrew