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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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Provenancing Viking Age Silver

Provenancing Viking Age Silver

Methodological and Theoretical Considerations and a Case Study

(p.206) 11 Provenancing Viking Age Silver
Silver, Butter, Cloth

Stephen Merkel

Oxford University Press

This chapter investigates the changing sources of silver during the tenth century at Hedeby, an important Viking Age trading centre and mint situated between the economies of the Baltic and North Seas. It first characterizes regional and chronological differences in Viking Age silver, in terms of both elemental composition and lead isotopes. A dual archaeometric approach to the analyses of silver items is then advanced. Observed differences in the trace elements and lead isotope ratios of Anglo-Saxon, Carolingian, and Islamic coin are exploited to determine the likely origin of silver bullion and coin circulating at Hedeby. The so-called Malmer KG7 coinage, together with a significant hack-silver assemblage, appears to be related to silver of eastern origin, which reached southern Scandinavia and the Baltic region prior to the large-scale influx of Samanid silver in the early-to-mid tenth century. Such results provide new insight into the chronology and movement of silver in the Viking Age.

Keywords:   Hedeby, elemental analysis, lead isotope analysis, KG7 coinage, ingots, hack-silver, silver sources

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