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Sci/Tech: Viking treasure unearthed in Sweden
Monday, 30 October 2006 Written by Gjermund E. Jansen
The Viking sword found in the
burial mound in Orkdal, Norway
In what seems to have been a euphoric week for archaeologists, scientists unearthed both a Viking burial mound in Orkdal, Norway and a Viking treasure on the island of Gotland off the south-east coast of Sweden, last week. The burial mound in Norway, discovered on Tuesday last week, belonged to a wealthy farmer and contained amongst other things a Viking sword, body armour and the tip of a spear according to the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, (only in Norwegian).

Preben Rønne, an archaeologist from the Museum of Science in Trondheim, Norway, believes the man buried in the mound was of a higher standing, possibly a local chieftain, adding that if a man could afford to slaughter his horse when he is buried he had to have sufficient means. The scientists claim that since the sea level was 5-7 meters above current day sea level, it is highly likely that this burial mound belonged to a settlement close to the sea.

Gold and silver coins
retrieved from Viking settlements
on the island of Gotland, Sweden
Meanwhile on the island of Gotland off the Swedish east coast, scientists have uncovered a Viking treasure (article only in Norwegian) ranked as the 25th largest treasure ever to be uncovered on the island. The treasure, originally discovered by two amateur archaeologist brothers, soon revealed as many as 1.100 silver coins of foreign origin in addition to a substantial amount of bracelets.

During the 9th century, the Vikings expanded their trading journey's from the Russian territories all the way down to Islamic empires in the Middle-East. The Vikings brought back almost exclusively Arabic silver coins, so-called dirhams, and used them in their trading s along the Russian rivers and out towards the Baltic Sea Coast. For each decade that passed, the number of coins in the hoards increased and today the Gotlandic yields accounts for almost half of all the 9th century dirhams found in Sweden. Of the total number of 689 000 Arabic, Volga-Bulgarian and Byzantine coins unearthed in Sweden, 51 300 come from Gotland.