12 Pages

Social and Economic Integration In Viking-Age Ireland: The Evidence of The Hoards

WithJohn Sheehan

Silver hoards constitute one of the more important sources of archaeological evidence for the study of the Early Viking Age in Ireland. In Ireland, the Scandinavians encountered economic and political conditions that differed in several respects from those pertaining elsewhere. This chapter provides a brief and very general overview of Viking-age silver hoards in Ireland and. It uses the evidence of the hoards to examine issues of economic and social integration between the native Irish and the Scandinavians/Hiberno-Scandinavians during the 9th and 10th centuries. With the exception of ingots, many of the non-numismatic components of the hoards from Ireland are diagnostic in form and consequently it is possible to suggest regional and/or cultural attributions for them. The progression of the Viking-age silver economy in Ireland may be gauged by observing the changing composition and structure of its hoards. The distributional patterns of hoards with a hacksilver element, however, are largely exclusive to these regions.