1st Edition

Viking Silver, Hoards and Containers
The Archaeological and Historical Context of Viking-Age Silver Coin Deposits in the Baltic c. 800–1050

ISBN 9780815373360
Published February 3, 2019 by Routledge
382 Pages

USD $155.00

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Book Description

It is widely accepted that the Viking Age (c. 800–1050) stimulated the development of long-distance, regional and local trade and exchange networks. The clearest archaeological evidence for these contacts is mainly in the form of silver artefacts predominantly found in hoards in Northern and Central Europe – the Baltic zone. However, beyond occasional national- or regional-level research, there have been no attempts at a historically guided comparative archaeological survey of the Baltic zone as a whole.

By investigating silver hoards and the context of their deposition, Viking Silver, Hoards and Containers seeks to understand the variety of functions performed by hoards; the differences in function within regions; the hoards’ relationship with trade; and the nature and function of emporia. It also examines the extent to which the findings mesh with literary evidence and the nature of the different societies benefiting from the influx of silver in the Viking Age. Crucially, the book features a catalogue, which provides a thorough overview and update of Baltic-zone hoards.

Viking Silver, Hoards and Containers is intended for use by students of, and specialists in, early medieval, Viking and Slavic history and archaeology. However, it will also be a useful teaching resource for other general courses in archaeology, anthropology and material culture, numismatics, economic history, religious studies, GIS and statistics.

Table of Contents

Table of contents

1 Introduction

1.1 Why Viking-Age hoards and why this book?

1.2 Setting the scene: Vikings, Viking Age, Baltic zone and silver economies

2 Gotland: The silver island

2.1 Introduction

2.2 Hoards in Gotland

2.3 Spatial analysis of hoard distribution

2.4 Context

2.5 Regression analysis

2.6 Hoarding and land ownership

2.7 Reasons for (non-)retrieval of silver

3 Pomerania: Slavs and war perpetual

3.1 Introduction

3.2 Hoards in Pomerania

3.3 Spatial analysis of hoard distribution

3.4 Context

3.5 Regression analysis

3.6 Reasons for (non-)retrieval of silver

4 Svealand: A mainland kingdom

4.1 Introduction

4.2 Hoards in Svealand

4.3 Spatial analysis of hoard distribution

4.4 Context

4.5 Regression analysis

4.6 Reasons for (non-)retrieval of silver

5 Composition and patterns of hoard deposition from a chronological perspective

5.1 Composition

5.2 Temporal changes in patterns of deposition

5.3 Reasons for hoarding from a chronological perspective

5.4 Silver hoards before and after the Viking Age

6 Synthesis and conclusions

6.1 Inflow of silver

6.2 Why were hoards deposited and (not) retrieved

6.3 Coin hoards in the context of stray finds and non-coin deposits

6.4 The end of the journey but not the road: conclusions

Appendix A – Scope, Datasets and Methodology

A1 Chronology and scope

A2 Datasets

A2.1 Gotland and Svealand

A2.2 Pomerania

A2.3 Common datasets

A2.4 Roman denarii hoards and hoards with tpq 1051-1150

A3 Methodology

A3.1 Clustering and kernel density

A3.2 Distances

A3.3 Weight calculations and bootstrapping

A3.4 Regression analysis

A3.5 Boxplots

A3.6 Stronghold territories in Pomerania (only)

Appendix B – Concise catalogue of silver hoards c. 800-1050



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Jacek Gruszczyński was a Research Associate at the Khalili Research Centre, University of Oxford, and works as an archaeology and heritage consultant. Gruszczyński obtained his MA in Archaeology from the Jagiellonian University, Cracow, and his doctorate from Oxford. His research interests focus on hoarding practices in the context of settlement, economy, and social and political structures in the Viking Age.