Bügelfibel von Wittislingen - Inschrift für eine Tote

Archäologische Staatssammlung München


To this day, there is no piece even approximately comparable to the bow fibula found as early as in 1881 during work at the Wittislingen quarry on the southern edge of the Swabian Alb. With a length of almost 16cm, it is one of the largest examples of this early mediaeval group of finds and one of the most richly decorated. A special testimony of early mediaeval writing is the Latin inscription in niello (a black metal compound) on the back, which was applied during production. In accordance with the wording used, it appears to be the copy of an epitaph for a woman named Uffila. In the sixth and seventh centuries, funerary inscriptions were customary only in Italy, Gaul and the Rhineland, so that the otherwise unknown Uffila could be located in one of these regions. The piece of jewellery impressively proves the far-reaching connections of the leading social strata during the early Middle Ages, since the wearer of the fibula, who was buried in Wittislingen, was probably Uffila’s relative or closely connected in another way. Otherwise it would not be possible to explain why the goldsmith was commissioned to transfer the Christian epitaph on a piece of jewellery. The pride of the goldsmith in his skills is expressed in the craftsman's mark, which is unique for this time: "Wigerig made [the fibula]".


Archäologische Staatssammlung München

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