Off the coast of the Irish Sea, people have lived on the Isle of Man since before 6500 BC. The island has a robust history of treasures from the Viking Age. According to a recent announcement by Manx National Heritage, a heritage agency based there, an amateur treasure hunter recently discovered a treasure trove of Viking silver on the island. US-based researcher and numismatist, Dr. Kristin Bornholdt-Collins, said the unearthed Viking silver treasure was similar to today’s cryptocurrency and embodied a 1,000-year-old comparison to Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin.
Viking ‘Hack’ Silver Hoard Was Today’s Equivalent to a Cryptocurrency
Recently, an amateur treasure hunter searching for trinkets on the Isle of Man found a treasure trove of Viking silver, also known as “hack silver.” Manx National Heritage revealed that the stash of ancient money contained 87 silver coins, 13 silver bracelets and a small portion of other numismatic artifacts. The Viking stock was discovered in April when Kath Giles was vacuuming private property with a metal detector.
The Giles discovery was the third major find on the Isle of Man in less than six months, and Giles has managed to unearth at least four significant treasures in three years. dr. Kristin Bornholdt-Collins, an independent researcher and numismatist based in New Hampshire, USA, explained that the silver consists of Dublin-minted pennies and “long cross” pennies that can be cut in half.
The Manx National Heritage announcement notes that the Viking coins have a “90% silver content”. The pile of coins Giles discovered has been called a “mixed treasure of silver coins from the Viking Age”.
‘A currency without borders or political affiliation’
Experts believe the large amounts of money came from owners who planned to reclaim the stash of money at a later date. Bornholdt-Collins says the stash is used as a “piggy bank” and can be considered a 1000-year-old analog version of cryptocurrency.
“The Northern Mixed Treasure is the fourth Viking Age coin hoard found on the Isle of Man in the past 50 years,” Bornholdt-Collins said. “It may have been added over time, like a piggy bank, and responsible for some of the older coins, although for the most part it is a direct reflection of what was going on in and around the late 1020s/c. man circulated 1030.”
“In addition to the array of coins,” Bornholdt-Collins added, “both deposits contain a significant amount of hack silver or bullion, which would have been weighed out during trades and possibly tested for quality. This is generally expected in finds dating from the ninth century.” and tenth century from Viking regions, but also seems to be a special feature of the later Manx treasures.This may be because precious metal was especially useful for international trade, as it was practical for transactions of all sizes and was decentralized, a currency without borders or political affiliation.
The New Hampshire-based numismatist further said:
In that sense, it was a modern equivalent of a cryptocurrency – we could even say it was something like the original ‘Bitcoin’. It seems only natural, then, that it was so popular in a cosmopolitan trading center like Man, even for several decades in the 11th century, when highly regulated minted silver was well on its way to becoming the norm in Northern Europe.
The Manx National Heritage team believes the coin dates to about 1035 AD and researchers believe that the Viking silver “built up over a period of a few years, perhaps representing a short-term savings account”. According to the Isle of Man Heritage Agency, the Viking silver will be on display at the Viking Gallery at the Manx Museum.
The stock is then assessed by the British Museum’s Treasure Valuation Committee to provide advice to the heritage authority on the care of the found antiquities. The newest treasure of Viking silver is believed to have come from the time of the Hiberno-Norse king Sihtric Silkbeard.
What do you think of the Viking silver found on the Isle of Man and why it is considered an analogous version of Satoshi Nakamoto’s Bitcoin? Let us know what you think about this topic in the comments section below.
Image Credits: Shutterstock, Pixabay, Wiki Commons, Manx National Heritage
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