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Silver, Butter, ClothMonetary and Social Economies in the Viking Age$
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Jane Kershaw, Gareth Williams, Søren Sindbæk, and James Graham-Campbell

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198827986

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198827986.001.0001

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The Importance of Containers for the Deposition and Non-Retrieval of Silver Hoards

The Importance of Containers for the Deposition and Non-Retrieval of Silver Hoards

A Comparison between Gotland and Pomerania

(p.169) 9 The Importance of Containers for the Deposition and Non-Retrieval of Silver Hoards
Silver, Butter, Cloth

Jacek Gruszczynski

Oxford University Press

This chapter investigates the reasons for the deposition and non-retrieval of Viking Age silver hoards, focusing on the two areas with the biggest hoard concentrations in the Baltic zone: Gotland and Pomerania (the southern shore of the Baltic sea area in modern-day northern Germany and Poland). The chapter advances a new model for determining the possible reasons for hoard deposition and non-retrieval, arguing that hoards intended for retrieval were placed in containers, with containerless hoards likely deposited for ritual motives, without the intention of recovery. The impact on local soil chemistry on the preservation of hoard containers is considered. The evidence for containers is then integrated with analysis of the weight of hoards and local settlement archaeology. A key finding is that, on Gotland, the practice of symbolically depositing small silver hoards on ‘broken fields’ (newly established farms) was widespread.

Keywords:   silver hoards, reasons for deposition, containers, soil chemistry, Gotland, Pomerania, broken fields

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