The Use of Coins as Pendants in Viking Age Scandinavia
In this chapter, the social, symbolic, and cultural attributes of Viking Age silver is addressed through an exploration of coin-pendants: coins taken out of circulation and suspended on necklaces to be worn as jewellery. Surveying material from a newly collated dataset, the chapter first outlines the key features of coin-pendants from across Scandinavia, including the rate of transformation of different coin types and their technical features. It then addresses the question: what made coin-pendants desirable? Discussion considers the aesthetic and bullion content of the pendants, as well as their value as exotic items and/or as items with long life histories. A case study is presented of an Arabic dirham-pendant, found in an inhumation grave at Birka, Sweden.
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