Thursday 11 April 2024

Hoard of medieval silver coins found on Visingsö Island, Sweden.

Archaeologists from the Jönköping County Museum carrying out surveying work ahead of the installation of geothermal heating system in a church on Visingsö, an island on Lake Vättern in south-central Sweden, have uncovered a pair of medieval graves, one of which contained a hoard of silver coins. The coins were found close to the foot of the skeleton of a man thought to have been between 20 and 25 when he died. Similar finds are common in earlier, pre-Chistian burials in Scandinavia, but their inclusion in what is thought to have been a Christian burial is very unusual.

A hoard of silver coins discovered on Visingsö Island, Sweden. Jönköping County Museum.

The hoard comprises 170 coins of a type known as silver bracteates, which had a stamped motif on one side only, which were common in Germany and Scandinavia after between the twelfth and fifteenth centuries. These coins retained their value for only a limited time, then had to be taken back to the issuing authority and restamped, which was intended as a way of ensuring that money continued to circulate and couldn't be hoarded. The coins in the Visingsö hoard are thought to date to between 1150 and 1180, and contain many stamps not previously seen by modern archaeologists.

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