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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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From Local Supply to Long-Distance Trade Networks

From Local Supply to Long-Distance Trade Networks

Fingerprinting Early Medieval Silver

(p.189) 10 From Local Supply to Long-Distance Trade Networks
Silver, Butter, Cloth

Guillaume Sarah

Oxford University Press

This chapter introduces the third theme of the volume: the sources of Viking wealth. It presents a theoretical and methodological framework for ‘fingerprinting’ early medieval silver by archaeometric methods. A combined approach, integrating elemental (especially gold and bismuth) and lead isotope analysis, is advanced. The methods involved, including state-of-the-art laser ablation ICP-MS, are introduced, and the limitations of the approach clearly laid out. These methods are then used to evaluate the diffusion of silver produced at the mine of Melle (Aquitaine, France): a major source of silver coinage in the Frankish kingdoms, which the Vikings acquired through their raids in Aquitaine during the ninth century.

Keywords:   silver sources, elemental analysis, lead isotope analysis, metal fingerprinting, archaeometallurgy, early medieval coinage, early medieval trade

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