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Many forms of payment

Silver was used as a currency and could have many forms. These include jewellery, broaches, silver rods, silver pieces and other types of object.

A large portion of the silver used as currency consisted of imported coins. But there was no economy based on a standard currency.

The purity of the silver and how much it weighed decided its value when an item was purchased. One way of determining the authenticity and quality of the silver was to cut or “hack” into it. Coins and pieces of jewellery could also be cut up to adjust the value of the payment to the value of the merchandise. This practise is evident in the many finds of cut up coins and jewellery found in hoards.

Silver hoards hidden in the ground

The Viking Age is sometimes called a Nordic silver age. Silver was the dominant precious metal during the period. Gold, which had previously been more common, became rarer. A lot of imported silver was melted down and made into, for example, Scandinavian style jewellery. But large amounts of silver coinage, jewellery and raw material were buried and still remain under the ground.

The contents of the hoards vary. In some there are just coins, others combine coinage and silver jewellery, and some only contain jewellery. Most also contain some raw material, such as silver rods and cut-up objects.

A lot of hoards have been found on Gotland, and new ones are discovered each year. Those we know about are only a fraction of what was once hidden in the ground.

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Runestone

  Runestone

Spiral rods

  Spiral rods

Armlet

  Armlet

Armlet

  Armlet

Rod

  Rod

Spiral rods

  Spiral rods

Ring-headed pin

  Ring-headed pin

Hack silver

  Hack silver

Hack silver

  Hack silver

Hack silver

  Hack silver

Hack silver

  Hack silver

Hack silver

  Hack silver

Hack silver

  Hack silver

Hack silver

  Hack silver

Hack silver

  Hack silver

Hack silver

  Hack silver

Hack silver

  Hack silver

Hack silver

  Hack silver

Hack silver

  Hack silver

Hack silver

  Hack silver

Hack silver

  Hack silver

Hack silver

  Hack silver

Hack silver

  Hack silver

Hack silver

  Hack silver

Pendant

  Pendant

Ring

  Ring

Coin pendant

  Coin pendant

Filigree pendant

  Filigree pendant

Coins

  Coins

Filigree

  Filigree

Beads

  Beads

Soap-stone pot

  Soap-stone pot

Coin pendant

  Coin pendant

Beads

  Beads

Bead

  Bead

Threefoil brooch

  Threefoil brooch

Decorative chain garnish

  Decorative chain garnish

Filigree pendant

  Filigree pendant

Filigree pendant

  Filigree pendant

Filigree pendant

  Filigree pendant

Filigree pendant

  Filigree pendant

Filigree pendant

  Filigree pendant

Filigree pendant

  Filigree pendant

Pendant

  Pendant

Pendant

  Pendant

Pendant

  Pendant

Pendants

  Pendants

Pendant

  Pendant

Coin (dirham)

  Coin (dirham)