This article presents a variant of a so-called ‘Anglo-Saxon workbox’ found in a woman’s grave dating to the late 700s–early 800s in Setesdal, southern Norway. It is the only one known from Norway, but it is similar to a few boxes found in Denmark. The Setesdal box is however deposited in a later context than the Danish ones, and has undergone repairs and secondary decoration. There are similarities and differences between Scandinavian and Anglo-Saxon workboxes, although they are all assumed to relate to the continental custom of wearing personal containers. These are often interpreted as being used for Christian relics, but they also occur in communities in transition between pagan and Christian practice. The inclusion of this unusual and antique box in the burial of the woman in Setesdal, exemplifies the enmeshed and unpredictable side of how societies engage and influence each other. The boxes illustrate how the material culture and its associations are constantly changing and negotiated over time, where practical use as well as the ideological and cosmological connotations of objects are redefined and processed in local terms.
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