Sunday, 11 December 2011

Archaeologists Return to Investigate Viking Period Site in Gotland

he world’s largest silver hoard was discovered in an agricultural field on an island in Scandinavia. The hoard weighed about 67 kilos, consisting of two caches about 3 meters apart. Dated to the 9th century AD, the hoard boasted a pure silver cache of more than 14,200 coins and nearly 500 silver arm rings and other objects, placed in wooden boxes beneath the floor of a Viking Age house structure. Related to this discovery was another find of bronze objects, weighing as much as 20 kilos, also placed in a wooden box.

The island, known as Gotland, is a part of Sweden and situated in the middle of the Baltic Sea. It sports a rich heritage when it comes to the Early Middle Ages and the time of the Vikings. In terms of trade, it occupied a uniquely strategic trading position for the flow of goods east and west between Scandinavia and other parts of Europe, enriching its inhabitants with luxury goods that otherwise would have eluded their reach. To the Vikings, it was a place of settlement. No place in Scandinavia can compare to the massive amount of Viking artifacts that have been discovered here over the last 200 years. And no region has yielded as many silver hoards as Gotland. In fact, more then 700 hundred hoards, with more than 150,000 silver coins from countries as far away as the Arabic world, have testified to the significance of this island during the Viking Age.

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