Saturday, August 29, 2009

A big Viking hoard may rewrite the history books


This post from the Independent (UK) has two very interesting points. First, the discovery is being called the "largest and most important" Viking hoard found in Britain since 1840, which is a long time. Second, responsible metal detectorists found and properly handled the discovery. Hooray!

As for rewriting the history books:
Some of the coins shed new light on the period – parts of Britain such as Staffordshire and Yorkshire were already believed lost by the Vikings and under Anglo-Saxon dominion, yet there are coins which show the Vikings were still creating their own currency in these regions. One such coin, with the word "Rorivacastr" on it, is believed to have originated from Roceter, in 10th-century Staffordshire, on the border of Viking and Anglo Saxon control.

Gareth Williams, curator of early medieval coins and Viking expert at the British Museum, said this particular coin revealed that the region may still have been under Viking control, despite Anglo Saxon spin that it was under their rule. He added that it was a truly remarkable find, with a vast array of coins from as far afield as Scandinavia, continental Europe, Tashkent and Afghanistan.

"There's been nothing like it for over 150 years. The size and range of material gives us an insight into the political history, the cultural diversity of the Viking world and the range of cultural and economic contact at that time," he said. Priceless lessons in history would further be revealed in four years time after careful study, he added.

Image: a small part of the hoard.

3 comments:

  1. I saw a paper on this hoard at Leeds 2008, it's taken a long time to go through the Treasure Process. There are a few new types in it as well. But yes, it is indubitably the most impressive hoard since the Cuerdale one of 1840, which you can find Gareth Williams talking about here. That one does make this look a bit puny, though...

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  3. This is awesome. Thanks for bring this to my attention and sharing.

    Would you mind if I used your picture in a story about Middle Ages Vikings for my own medievalist blog?

    Cheers,

    Matt

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