Viking Age Quiver

I needed a quiver to go with my SCA persona, Snorri skyti Bjarnarson. He’s a Pagan Norseman born in 973, a trader and archer, who married a Christianized Kievan Rus woman, Annika Iosefa. They split the difference and settled in Hedeby (Haithabu in German), and so draw inspiration from each other’s cultures. This quiver, styled after remnants found in Hedeby, seemed perfect.

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The body is 7-8oz vegetable tanned leather, the top part is chemically-tanned bullhide. It has a latigo leather lace drawstring with a large green glass bead. The body was machine sewed with my Tippman Boss harness stitcher, but the bullhide parts were all hand saddle-stitched. There’s a Thor’s Hammer appliqued onto the top cover (the original had a cross, but my persona is clinging to the old gods) but it sorta looks a bit phallic. I’ll do better next time.

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The most interesting feature, one which we have no reason to have today, is that the top rolls up to cover the arrows. This would have been vitally important, as the Vikings didn’t have modern glues, but rather would have stuck their fletchings on with pine pitch or some other sticky natural compound, and then tied them on with silk thread (if they could get it) or hempen cord. These would have been horribly vulnerable to wetness, dirt, etc. and so would have needed to be cared for much more carefully than we do with modern arrows.

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The blotchiness of the dye job I attribute to the terrible quality of leather I got from Tandy – this was a blowout sale double shoulder that I got for about $40. It’s undoubtedly from a tannery in Mexico or India, and was an awful piece of leather to work with.

Documentation for a similar quiver that I entered into Ice Dragon’s A&S Pentathalon in 2018 is below:

hedeby quiver ice dragon 2018

Hedeby Quiver documentation from Ice Dragon A&S Pentathalon 2018

The style is copied from information found in Ausgrabungen in Haithabu by Willy Groenman-van Waateringe. It’s long out-of print, but I’ve managed to scan a copy for your perusal. Quiver pieces found on pages 101-103 at the very end of the book.

Ausgrabungen in Haithabu (Warning: 12.5 MB PDF file!)

If you’re interested in trying to make one, here is a diagram of the pattern I use, for reference:

Hedeby Quiver Pattern

The full Imgur album of build photos is here: https://imgur.com/a/dB0cB

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