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Viking-era 'piggy bank' yields silver treasure

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Viking-era 'piggy bank' yields silver treasure

Post by Rowan » Thu April 12th, 2012, 12:49 pm

A bronze, Viking-era "piggy-bank" containing thousands silver coins dating from the 11th century has been unearthed on the Baltic island of Gotland in what Swedish archaeologists have described as a "fantastic" treasure find.
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Post by Ash » Thu April 12th, 2012, 1:13 pm

Interesting, tho a misleading headline:
X-rays also indicate that the bucket, which measures 23 centimetres in diameter and has a depth of about 17 centimetres, likely contains "thousands" of coins.

"We can't say for sure because the x-rays couldn't penetrate all the silver. There might be other silver artefacts in there, but as it looks now, the bucket appears filled to the brim with coins," said Widerström.
So they don't know whats in it yet. I also had to laugh at the word choice - piggy bank and Viking just aren't words I'd ever put together!

BTW wasn't that late to be Viking era? I usually associate them with earlier than 1000 ce.
Last edited by Ash on Thu April 12th, 2012, 1:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by annis » Thu April 12th, 2012, 6:12 pm

The Viking era was at its height in 9th and 10th centuries, but it did continue into the 11th century in an increasingly diminished form. Conversion to Christianity (less opportunities for lucrative slave trading - the Church frowned on selling Christians as slaves) and changing economic onditions gradually decreased the profitability of the raids which defined the Vikings. Traditionally easy raiding targets learned to protect themselves by fortification, meaning the signal Viking lightning raid (minimum effort, maximum loot) no longer worked, and the Vikings weren't that keen on siege warfare- too slow and costly. Social conditions in Scandinavia changed, meaning men wre tied to working on the land and not as free to go off raiding.

The death of Norse king Harald Hardrada at Stamford Bridge in Yorkshire in 1066 is generally accepted as marking the end of the Viking era, as his invasion was the last of the great Viking incursions. Life in the Scandinavian countries went on of course, but the age of the vik or raid was over.

Gotland has produced an astonishing number of caches like this- it was a central point in the trade/raids via the old Viking trade route to Byzantium and the East, and the Carolingian Empire. Apparently more old Arabic coinage has been discovered in Gotland than anywhere else in the world!

Wish I could say I had anything more interesting than cobwebs in my piggy bank, which is a sentimental keepsake. It's a beautiful big pottery pig which used to sit on the library counter, a quaint curio from the easy-going old days when library users made voluntary donations for overdue books. These days fines are compulsorily exacted by a unforgiving computer system!
Last edited by annis on Thu April 12th, 2012, 7:50 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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Post by LoveHistory » Thu April 12th, 2012, 6:40 pm

Told my daughter we'd get her a piggy bank. I think this one is out of our price range. When she does get one it will come with a whopping one cent in it.

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