Saturday, April 12th, 2008
It’s like The 13th Warrior, only it’s not a crappy movie!
Archaeologists in Sweden have uncovered a huge hoard of 472 Arab silver coins near Stolkholm.
Vikings buried the coins in a pre-existing grave in around 850 A.D. They only started importing currency in 800 A.D., so this find is remarkable for its early age as well as for its hugeness.
Most of the coins were minted in Arab locations such as Baghdad in modern-day Iraq and Damascus in Syria. The youngest coin dates to the A.D. 840s
But the oldest coins came from Persia, said dig team member Karin Beckman-Thoor.
These Persian coins must have been in circulation for centuries before being buried and “were very high quality,” she said. [...]
Once thoroughly studied, the hoard “will give us lots of information about the journey it made and also ideas about why it was left in the ground,” Beckman-Thoor said.
The moneys were most likely the proceeds of trade in Russia, which brings us back to The 13th Warrior whose lead character was a fictionalized version of Ibn Fadlan, a 10th c. emissary of Caliph al-Muqtadir who wrote a travelogue of his eventful voyage to the Volga Bulghars.