Rare Viking treasures: See the silver of Scandinavian and English kings found in Wales

By Ben Miller | 28 August 2015

National Museum Wales hopes to buy pennies of kings and ingots from a 1,000-year-old hoard

A photo of a circular coin showing a carving of the Hiberno-Scandinavian ruler Sihtric Anlafsson, declared treasure in Wales
© National Museum Wales
These 14 silver pennies, which have just been declared treasure after being found by metal detectorist Walter Hanks in Llandwrog in March 2015, were produced in Dublin under the Hiberno-Scandinavian ruler Sihtric Anlafsson (989-1036).

Eight are dated from around AD 995. Six, of which three are represented by fragments, are from around 1018. There are also fragments of three or four pennies of Cnut, King of England (1016-35), probably all from the mint of Chester.

A photo of a circular coin with a cross carving from the time of the Hiberno-Scandinavian ruler Sihtric Anlafsson, declared treasure in Wales
© National Museum Wales
Sihtric’s coins are very rarely found on the British mainland. Archaeologists believe the hoard is likely to have been hidden or lost between 1020 and 1030, which makes it approximately contemporary with the Bryn Maelgwyn hoard (Conwy), which contained 203 coins of Cnut and two of Sihtric, buried after around 1024.

“There are three complete finger-shaped ingots and one fragmentary finger-shaped metal ingot,” said Dr Mark Redknap, of National Museum Wales, reporting on the silver ingots.

A photo of a set of archaeological artefacts from the time of the Hiberno-Scandinavian ruler Sihtric Anlafsson, declared treasure in Wales
© National Museum Wales
“Nicking on the sides of the ingots is an intervention sometimes undertaken in ancient times to test purity, and evidence that they had been used in commercial transactions before burial.

“The combined weight of this component of the hoard amounts to 115.09g, representing some 90% per cent of the total surviving weight of the hoard (127.77g). This points to a primary purpose of silver storage.

A photo of a set of archaeological artefacts from the time of the Hiberno-Scandinavian ruler Sihtric Anlafsson, declared treasure in Wales
© National Museum Wales
“At least four hoards on the Isle of Man indicate that bullion retained an active role in the Manx economy from the 1030s to 1060s, and the mixed nature of the Llandwrog hoard falls into the same category.

“As such, it amplifies the picture we are building up of the wealth and economy operating in the kingdom of Gwynedd in the eleventh century.”

The museum is interested in acquiring the hoard.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

Three museums to find Welsh history in

Ceredigion Museum, Aberystwyth
Housed in a restored Edwardian theatre, this museum displays objects of all ages from the county of Ceredigion (Cardiganshire). Most of the displays relate to the Victorian period and later.

Castle and Regimental Museum, Monmouth
This small volunteer-run museum, with free admission, tells the story of the Royal Monmouthshire Royal Engineers - the only present-day regiment to have survived from the Militia.

Llandudno Museum
A variety of items from artist FE Chardon's collection, including a kitchen housing traditional Welsh furniture and crockery etc from his cottage in Snowdonia. There are also displays on the early history of Llandudno, from fishing and farming community through to the town's development as a major tourist destination.
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