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Arinbjork's Cross Slab

Period: Early Medieval

NGR Easting: 241485

NGR Northing: 499270

Description: This large monument was found in the churchyard during the 1880s.
Each face bears a shafted cross without circle, the space to either side of which has been decorated with groups of animals.

On one face, the cross shaft is decorated with a plait-of-five, and edged with narrow borders of step-pattern and key-fret. Above the head is a horizontal band of plait-of-four, and the shaft rests on another bordered band decorated with twist-and-ring. Above each arm is the figure of a bird or cockerel, symbols of the resurrection in Christian tradition. To the left, the slab is decorated from the bottom with the figures of an ox, a boar, a mounted hunter with a short spear or club, and a hound pursuing a stag. On the right a goat is followed by a wolf, a hind and a bear, while a hound runs in the opposite direction.

The other face also bears a cross, the shaft of which is decorated with a ring-chain pattern terminating in a small cross. Above the head are two linked triquetras. Two birds again stand above the arms of the cross. The left panel depicts from the top a stag, a coiled snake, and four more animals which have been identified as a wolf, a bear, a second wolf, and a dog. To the right are a goat, a ram, a snake, the damaged remains of what is possibly an ox, and a boar.

Below the cross is a robed figure on horseback, one hand on the reins, the harness clearly shown in front and behind the rider. Both legs are visible, suggesting that the figure is riding 'aside' because of their flowing clothes. At the foot of the stone, as though added after the rest of the cross had been carved, is an incised figure of a wolf's head and forequarters.

A runic inscription is written from bottom to top of one edge and translates, 'Sandulf the black erected this cross in memory of Arinbiaurk his wife'.

It would appear that the horsewoman is Arinbjork herself, and that the figure of the wolf is a play on the name of the man - Sand-wolf - responsible for commissioning the memorial.

View map location on Archaeology Data Service

Site & Monument Type: cross

Category: National Monuments Record: Statutory Ancient Monuments

Site ID number: Manx Cross 131


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