vikings A new perspective l s Liverpoo l Museum
Above Silver arm rings were a form of wealth that could be worn, or flattened and cut up into hacksilver, like these examples from the 2004 Huxley Hoard.
Above right A part of the massive Cuerdale Hoard, Lancashire, comprised of ingots, arm-rings, ‘ring-money’ and coins.
right Recent metal detector finds of possible Viking loot include this decorated lead weight from near Preston, Lancashire (left) and a hanging bowl mount with a human face from another possible beach market at Arnside, on the shores of Morecambe Bay.
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Trade and metalworking on Anglesey
The Huxley and Vale of York hoards were found as a result of metal detecting. Another intriguing site from this period was found in the same way when, in 1992, metal detectorists on the Isle of Anglesey reported finding ingots and hack-silver gene test To the battery of traditional archaeological and place-name evidence for Viking settlement, we can now add the new science of genetic analysis. Researchers – including Mark Jobling of the University of Leicester and Steve Harding of the University of Nottingham – reported in a paper in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution in 2007 that 50 per cent of men with family roots in Liverpool, the Wirral and West Lancashire have gene signatures similar to those of men in modern Orkney and Norway. These conclusions were based on samples of DNA donated by people chosen because they had surnames distinctive to the region or derived from local place-names. This filtered out new arrivals in a region that saw a huge population influx at the Industrial Revolution. Steve Harding’s website for this project is: www. nottingham.ac.uk/~sczsteve/survey.htm.
at Llanbedrgoch. This spurred Mark Redknap, of the National Museum of Wales, to undertake a series of excavations there between 1994 and 2001 which uncovered a sub-oval enclosure of 1.2 hectares, surrounded by a ditch and 2.4m wide stone wall. The ditch and some of the structures within the enclosure dated to earlier than the Viking period, but the wall had been constructed, and the ditch re-cut, in the 9th century, whilst the interior was shown to contain Vikingperiod longhouses and metalworking hearths. The rich artefact assemblage recovered from the site showed that its economic foundation lay in a mixed agricultural economy, alongside craft activities, including the casting of silver ingots. The hack-silver, of Irish Viking origin, and 19 lead weights provided clear evidence of long-distance trade. Ironically, the latest evidence from the site consisted of the remains of five individuals, buried in haste under rubble in the enclosure ditch in the 10th century, which Mark interprets as the victims of a raid that might well have led to the demise of the site.
current archaeology | www.archaeology.co.uk
August 2010 |