Viking coins from Dublin found in Wales

Hoard of Viking coins unearthed in field and dating back 1,000 years declared treasure

Portable Antiquities Scheme: NMGW-038729

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One of the Viking Sihtric Anlafsson Long Cross pennies from Dublin © National Museum Wales

 

A hoard of historic Viking treasure found in a field has been declared treasure.

The haul, which includes ancient ingots and fragments of coins dating back almost a thousand years to the time of King Cnut the Great, was found by treasure hunter Walter Hanks from Llanllyfni, near Caernarfon, using a metal detector in nearby Llandwrog back in March.

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One of the Viking pennies of Sihtric Anlafsson from Dublin obverse and reverse © National Museum Wales

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A total of 14 silver pennies produced at Dublin under the Hiberno-Scandinavian ruler Sihtric Anlafsson (989-1036), which archaeologists say are rarely found on the British mainland, also make up part of the find.

Eight of the coins date back to AD 995 while the other six were believed to have been produced in AD 1018.

Experts believe that the hoard was purposely buried in the ground between 1020 and 1030 in a bid to store the silver – and could even have been used as part of a burial ritual.

The astonishing discovery was officially declared treasure by the North West Wales coroner Dewi Pritchard-Jones during an inquest at Caernarfon.

A spokesperson for National Museum Wales could not confirm the value of the coins and said the museum is seeking to acquire the hoard with grant funding from the Collecting Cultures stream of the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The spokesperson added: “Now that the hoard has been declared treasure by the coroner, the next step will be to courier this to The British Museum for temporary safe keeping.

“The independent Treasure Valuation Committee, will commission an expert valuer to offer their view on current market/collector value and the committee will consider this, before making their recommendation. Finders and landowners are consulted and are able to offer comment or commission their own valuations, if they wish.

“Usually what happens is that the value is split equally between the finder and the landowner with each getting 50% of the current market value.”

Among the more interesting artefacts in the hoard were are fragments of three or four pennies of Cnut, King of England (1016-35), which were most likely all from the mint of Chester.

Cnut the Great, more commonly known as Canute, was a king of Denmark, England, Norway, and parts of Sweden who ruled from the year 985 or 995 to 1035.

Dr Mark Redknap, Head of Collections and Research in the Department of History and Archaeology at the National Museum Wales said the find will help historians to form a picture of the eleventh century Gwynedd economy.

He said: “There are three complete finger-shaped ingots and one fragmentary finger-shaped metal ingot.

“Nicking on the sides of the ingots is an intervention sometimes undertaken in ancient times to test purity, and evidence that they had been used in commercial transactions before burial.
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“At least four hoards on the Isle of Man* indicate that bullion retained an active role in the Manx economy from the 1030s to 1060s, and the mixed nature of the Llandwrog hoard falls into the same category.

“As such it amplifies the picture we are building up of the wealth and economy operating in the kingdom of Gwynedd in the eleventh century.”

 

*Glenfaba c. 1030 (464 coins, 25 ingots, armlet fragment)

Andreas parish churchyard ingots c. 1045

West Nappin, Jurby c. 1045

Kirk Michael parish churchyard c. 1065

 

 

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This entry was posted in Viking.

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