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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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Beyond Economics

Beyond Economics

The Use of Coins as Pendants in Viking Age Scandinavia

(p.123) 7 Beyond Economics
Silver, Butter, Cloth

Florent Audy

Oxford University Press

In this chapter, the social, symbolic, and cultural attributes of Viking Age silver is addressed through an exploration of coin-pendants: coins taken out of circulation and suspended on necklaces to be worn as jewellery. Surveying material from a newly collated dataset, the chapter first outlines the key features of coin-pendants from across Scandinavia, including the rate of transformation of different coin types and their technical features. It then addresses the question: what made coin-pendants desirable? Discussion considers the aesthetic and bullion content of the pendants, as well as their value as exotic items and/or as items with long life histories. A case study is presented of an Arabic dirham-pendant, found in an inhumation grave at Birka, Sweden.

Keywords:   coin-pendants, demonetization, iconography, bullion, coin reuse, value, Birka

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