Thor was one of the most earthy of the Viking gods, a drinker and fighter, mocked by the sophisticated saga-writers as a muscular oaf; but he was revered by the common people as the master of wind and tide. His weapon was a hammer called "Mjolnir", meaning "Crusher". A hammer is probably the oldest weapon ever made, which suggests that his legend goes back to the Stone Age.
Though it is said that Vikings used to make the sign of the hammer with a clenched fist as a blessing, the custom of wearing amulets in the form of a hammer only became widespread in the Tenth Century, probably as a reaction to the Christians' cross-wearing. At first these were simple inverted T-shapes, but late Tenth Century hammers were elaborated with stylised bird or animal heads at the top of the haft. My design is taken from one of the most ornate, the Skåne Amulet, covered with filigree (wire) and granulation (tiny metal balls), and featuring a birdlike head with glaring eyes.