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Gotlandic Picture Stones - The Online Edition

GP 103 Garda Smiss II


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Measured length

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Parish Find Location ⓘ

Find Location ⓘ
Häbbnautet – a meadow near Smiss gård (farmstead) in Garda socken.

Find Context Classification ⓘ
Agricultural Field

Coordinate Find Location (lat) ⓘ

Coordinate Find Location (long) ⓘ

Present Location Classification ⓘ
Gotlands Museum Magasin Visborg

Coordinate Present Location (lat) ⓘ

Coordinate Present Location (long) ⓘ


Limestone Type ⓘ
fine limestone without reef debris

Geological Group ⓘ
Klinteberg Formation (40%)

Height ⓘ

Width ⓘ

Thickness ⓘ

Lindqvist Type 

Lindqvist Shape 

Iconographic Keywords

Runic Inscription or not ⓘ

Context and Discovery ⓘ
According to Pehr Arvid Säve’s “Gotländska Samlingar” II (1887), the stone was found in 1873, together with GP 96 Garda Smiss I, in a meadow called Häbbnautet which is located near Smiss (towards Ansarve). During an investigation in 1978, however, the find place could not be verified (according to the RAÄ inventory book 1978-06-14). According to Lindqvist (1941/42 I, pp. 40, 47–48, 58–61; 1964), picture stones of the cist stone Type, to which the stone from Smiss certainly belongs (see IX), were used either pairwise representing grave markers or in a group of four forming cist-shaped (grave or sacrificial) monuments. However, all known cist stones have been discovered in secondary contexts (Stenkvist 2014).
GP 96 Garda Smiss I

Measurements, Material and Condition ⓘ
The limestone slab has a thickness of about 10 cm at the upper and the lower part; however, the stone is slightly less thick. It is 0.74 m high, 0.51 m wide at its basis and 0.46 m wide at its upper corners. The main rectangular picture field has a size of 0.31 x 0.25 m. The picture stone’s root is approx. 0.22 m high. The monument is almost completely preserved; only a very small part of its root seems to be broken off.

The decorated surface is relatively flat; however, the lower right part of the main picture field is very weathered and rougher than the rest of it. Apparently, at some time, this part was more exposed to moisture.

Description of Ornament and Images ⓘ
The grooves left by the chisel in order to mark the background plane are clearly visible in the left half and upper part of the surface. However, the relief figures are less than a millimetre high and thus hard to identify. In addition, the right part of the depiction in the main field is weathered and almost obliterated.

The small head part of the cist stone is decorated with a horizontal row of triangles or a zigzag pattern. The depiction in the rectangular main field of the stone remains completely unclear in Olof Sörling’s drawing, which is the only image of the stone published in “Gotlands Bildsteine”. It was described by Sune Lindqvist as an unclear ribbon pattern, probably carved by a “bungler” (Lindqvist 1964, 66). A photo of the stone without paint is published by Lindqvist in 1964 (fig. 19), showing the grooves of the chisel and the weathered surface of the right part quite well. A photo of the painted stone dating to 1933, however, is kept in ATA. It shows a much more detailed view of the ribbon-like elements in the left part of the simply framed picture field as well as a larger, possibly anthropomorphic figure in the centre. Above this assumed figure a roughly circular ribbon can be seen.

According to Sigmund Oehrl (2019, pp. 243–245), who re-examined the stone and analysed it based on 3D- and RTI-documentation, the figure in the centre represents a man with horned headgear, depicted en face, and the ribbon-like elements must be understood as a pair of bent spears crossing each other. In addition, according to Oehrl, the man holds two short staff-shaped objects in his right hand, crossing each other as well, forming a Saint Andrew’s cross. Thus, the carving represents a known motif which can also be observed on Viking Age coins, the Oseberg tapestry, and a silver figurine from Ekhammar in Uppland (Oehrl 2019, pl. 294a–e).

Interpretation of the Imagery ⓘ
The horned warrior is a rare feature in the iconography of the Gotlandic picture stones. A horned man escorting a ship, however, can definitively be seen on the Vendel/Viking Age fragment GP 339 Rute St. Valle 2 and probably also on the large type D cist stone GP 110 Gothem kyrka III. Beyond that, the motif occurs frequently in Vendel and Viking Period art (the corpus is collected by Helmbrecht 2011, pp. 140–146). It is very likely that these figures represent a Norse deity (detailed, with literature and sources: Oehrl 2017; Oehrl 2019, pp. 233–242). That they can represent the god Wodan/Óðinn seems to be shown by the fact that some of them are one-eyed, like the so called ʻweapon dancerʼ on one of the Torslunda models (Arrhenius/Freij 1992, p. 76, fig. 6; Helmbrecht 2011, p. 168). Óðinn is described as one-eyed in Skaldic and Eddic poetry since the 10th century. The horned and one-eyed figure from Torslunda is accompanied by a warrior with a wolf-like animal mask, reminiscent of the úlfheðnar – animal warriors mentioned in early Skaldic poetry who, according to Snorri Sturlusson’s Ynglinga saga, are closely linked to the god Óðinn (Samson 2011; 2020). On Vendel Period helmet plates, a small horned warrior of that kind is hovering behind a horse rider, like an eidolon, assisting him in throwing his spear, acting as divine helper in battle. This motif seems to be inspired by Roman depictions of the numen victoriae (Hauck 1981). It can be connected to Old Norse written sources (Beck 1964, pp. 31–45) like the Skaldic poem Gráfeldardrápa written by Glúmr Geirason (after 974), which tells that the gods guide or steer (stýra) the heroes on the battlefield. In the Eddic poem Hlǫðskviða stanza 28 (probably 9th century) the King of the Goths invokes Óðinn, god of war and father of the fallen, to steer his throwing spear (láti svá Óðinn flein fliúga – Neckel/Kuhn 1983, p. 309).
GP 339 Rute St. Valle 2

Type and Dating ⓘ
The slab represents a picture stone with gavel-like, wave-shaped upper edge, a so-called cist stone. Thus, the stone could be interpreted as one of two stones marking a burial at the head and foot end or as a stone cist consisting of four slabs, representing either a grave marker or a kind of sacrificial cist (Lindqvist 1964). Most cist stones represent late-type picture stones, belonging to ʻAbschnittʼ C/D or E according to Lindqvist. There is only a very small number of Type B cist stones known to date (see in particular Halla Broa V–VI). According to Lindqvist, the cist stone from Garda Smiss most likely represents a Type C stone but could also be assigned to ʻAbschnittʼ D, however, without giving sufficient reasons (Lindqvist 1941/42 I, pp. 48, 50). As a result, the stone can only be roughly dated between the 8th and 10th centuries. The most striking parallels concerning the probable picture motif date to the 9th and 10th centuries.
GP 144 Halla Broa V
GP 145 Halla Broa VI

References ⓘ
Lindqvist 1941/42 II, p. 47, fig. 355; 1964, p. 66, fig. 19; Oehrl 2019a, pp. 242–245, pls. 288a–293c.

Funnen 1873 på ängen ʻHäbbnautetʼ i närheten av Smiss i Garda socken.

Nuvarande förvaringsplats
Gotlands Museum, Magasin Visborg.

Vågformad platta av 74.5 m höjd, så kallad kiststen som förmodligen har varit del av en gravkonstruktion eller ett kistliknande monument.
Ytan är vittrad och reliefen är mindre än en millimeter djup. Möjligen rester av en mansfigur med stora horn på huvudet.

Mellan 700- och 900-talet e.Kr. (vikingatid).

Mansfigurer med horn respektive hornhjälm förekommer ofta i vikingatidens och vendeltidens konst. Motiven brukar tolkas som guden Oden. Se GP 339 Rute St. Valle 2.

GP 339 Rute St. Valle 2

GP 103 Garda Smiss II

Fornsök ID ⓘ

Garde 19:3

Gotlands Museum ID ⓘ

Jan Peder Lamm ID

Lindqvist Title ⓘ
Garda, Smiss II

Last modifed Jun 25, 2024


Identifier: GP0103-3D
ID: 4531