Reinterpreting the Evidence of the Hoards
This chapter explores the phenomenon of silver fragmentation from the evidence of silver hoards deposited in the Baltic area. Focusing on the evidence of dirhams, it charts an increase in silver fragmentation in an anticlockwise direction around the Baltic Sea. This culminates in hoards from the west Slavic lands (Poland and eastern Germany), in which dirham fragments often weigh just fractions of a gram. Chronological and geographical patterns are presented to suggest that the degree of dirham fragmentation reflects not local monetary circulation, but the number of times dirhams changed hands in commercial transactions. In this sense, the degree of fragmentation reflects the distance dirhams travelled from their source. The implication is that silver was above all a means of payment in transactions related to the long-distance trade—especially in slaves and furs.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.