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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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Gold as a Means of Exchange in Scandinavian England (c.ad 850–1050)

Gold as a Means of Exchange in Scandinavian England (c.ad 850–1050)

(p.227) 12 Gold as a Means of Exchange in Scandinavian England (c.AD 850–1050)
Silver, Butter, Cloth

Jane Kershaw

Oxford University Press

The Viking bullion economy is often characterized as a silver economy, based on the weight and fineness of silver objects, regardless of their form. In this chapter, new archaeological evidence from England is presented which suggests that gold objects had a greater monetary role than has previously been appreciated. The material consists of tested gold ingots, hack-gold, and weight-adjusted gold ornaments, found in areas of documented Scandinavian activity and settlement. The date of the items suggests that most belong to the ninth century. A case is made for linking the monetary use of gold with the contemporary activity of the Viking Great Army and their heightened gold resources following Viking raids in western Europe. The mounting evidence for gold bullion highlights the diverse material forms ‘money’ could take in the Viking Age, providing a more rounded and accurate view of Viking Age exchange.

Keywords:   gold, hack-gold, ingots, weight-adjusted ornaments, bullion economy, multi-metallic currency, Viking Great Army

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