The Germanic Iron Age is the name given to the period A.D. 400–A.D. 800 in Northern Europe and it is part of the continental Age of Migrations. It follows the Roman Iron Age and the beginning is marked by the fall of the Roman empire and the rise of the Germanic kingdoms in Western Europe. In Scandinavia, it is followed by the Viking Age.
It is divided into the early Germanic Iron Age (EGIA) and the late Germanic Iron Age (LGIA). In Sweden, the LGIA 550–800 is usually referred to as the Vendel era, in Norway, the Merovinger (Merovingian) Age.
After the Roman empire had disappeared, gold became scarce and Scandinavians began to make objects of gilded bronze, with decorations of interlacing animals in Scandinavian style. The EGIA decorations show animals that are rather faithful anatomically, but in the LGIA they evolve into intricate shapes with interlacing and interwoven limbs that are well-known from the Viking Age.