Whalebone plaque, Viking, 9th century. Whalebone plaque decorated with a pair of openwork horses' heads at the top and incised with ring-and-dot and geometric designs. Often believed to be "ironing boards", these plaques are now rather interpretated as intended for serving food.  This example is from a barrow burial at Lilleberge, Namdalen, Norway. Whales were hunted for their skins, meat and whalebone; they also sometimes stranded themselves or were washed ashore

Whalebone plaque decorated with a pair of openwork horses' heads at the top and incised with ring-and-dot and geometric designs.

Soapstone cooking pots based on finds from Haithabu. By Florian Peteranderl

Mead Hall: soapstone cooking pots, based on finds from Haithabu. By Florian Peteranderl.

Viking Plaque found in Ship Burial at Scar. Often believed to be "ironing boards", these plaques are now rather interpretated as intended for serving food.

Viking Plaque found in Ship Burial at Scar. Ironing board from whalebone

soapstone bowl from Viking woman's grave, Westness, Orkney, ca  850-950 (National Museum of Scotland)

Soapstone bowl from Viking woman's grave, Westness, Orkney, ca (National Museum of Scotland).

Viking age pot hook with chain, made of iron. The pot hook was used to hang a cooking vessel above the fire, Gotland, Sweden. Object from the exhibition "We call them Vikings" produced by The Swedish History Museum.

Viking age pot hook with chain, made of iron. The pot hook was used to hang a cooking vessel above the fire, Gotland, Sweden. Object from the exhibition "We call them Vikings" produced by The Swedish History Museum.

Often believed to be "ironing boards", these whalebone plaques are now rather interpretated as intended for serving food.  (Bergen museum)

Whalebone plaque and smoothing stone, from the Kulture Historisk Museet in Bergen, Norway - photograph by Erin McGuire - Picasa Web Albums.

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