An amateur metal detectorist has unearthed a stash of Viking coins on the Isle of Man.
Former police officer Kath Giles found the trove, which experts think Vikings added to over a longer period of time.
Hence, it’s been dubbed a “piggy bank.”
A total of 87 coins were found and dated between 1000 and 1035 AD. The silver coins, it seems, had been buried by the owner(s) on purpose. This wasn’t an uncommon practice in historical times – valuable items could be deposited underground for a number of purposes, such as safekeeping or hiding.
For example, say the owner was forced to flee from the area at short notice. Burying valuables could ensure they wouldn’t be stolen until the owner could come back and safely retrieve them.
Alongside the 1,000-year-old coins, 13 pieces of silver arm rings were found. Such jewelry was also used as currency during the Viking age.
Unraveling the Viking economy
Giles made the discovery in a field on the northern side of the Isle of Man. Experts believe the coins were minted on the island itself and Dublin, England, and Germany.
The coins from Ireland and the Isle of man depict Norse King Sihtric Silkbeard, who ruled Dublin from 989 to 1036 AD. The English and German coins show multiple rulers: King Cnut of England, Denmark and Norway; Holy Roman Emperor Otto of Saxony, and English King Aethelred II.
So, the find could help increase understanding of the complex and far-flung Viking economy.
For now, the coins will be displayed at the Manx Museum on the Isle of Man in Douglas. Later on, they’re expected to be moved to London for valuation.
Like in Norway, Isle of Man law requires discoveries of archaeological interest to be immediately reported to the proper authorities.
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