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Silver hoard from Goldsborough
The Vikings measured wealth in many ways. The two most important were land and silver. It was only relatively late in the Viking Age that they began to produce their own coins, and silver was often valued only by weight. This meant that all sorts of different coins circulated together, along with silver ingots (small bars), and chopped up bits of silver plate or jewellery, known as hacksilver.
Viking hoards often contain a mixture of all these different types of silver. One hoard of this type was found at Goldsborough while drains were being dug there in 1859. The hoard contains several fragments of Viking brooches and arm-rings, together with thirty-nine coins. There are three Anglo-Saxon coins, including half of a rare offering piece of Alfred 'the Great', and two pennies of Edward 'the Elder'. All the other coins are Islamic dirhams from the Middle East. These came to Britain from the Viking trade routes along the rivers of Russia, across the Baltic into Scandinavia, and then across the North Sea.