Bügelfibel von Wittislingen - Inschrift für eine Tote

Archäologische Staatssammlung München


To this day, there is no comparable piece to this bow fibula, found in 1881 during work at the quarry of Wittislingen on the southern edge of the Schwäbische Alb (Swabian Alps). With a length of almost 16 cm, it is one of the largest exemplars of this early mediaeval group of finds and one of the most richly decorated. A particular testimony of early mediaeval literacy is the Latin inscription in niello (a black inlay used on metal) on the reverse which was applied during the production process. The formulations used make it appear that it is a copy of the tomb inscription for a woman named Uffila. Since during the sixth and seventh century, such tomb inscriptions were only customary in Italy, in Gaul and in the Rhineland, the otherwise unknown Uffila will have come from one of these regions. The piece of jewellery clearly shows the wide connections between the leading families of the early Middle Ages, for the owner of the brooch, buried in Wittislingen, was probably a relative of Uffila or closely connected to her in some other way. Otherwise, it would not be possible to explain why the goldsmith was commissioned to transfer the Christian funerary inscription onto a piece of jewellery. The pride of the goldsmith in his skills is expressed in the (at that time) unusual inscription of the maker: Wigerig made (the fibula).


Archäologische Staatssammlung München

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