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17.01.2021

Bryn Maelgwyn Hoard

A treasure trove of Viking-era silver bullion and coins discovered in Wales has been officially declared a coroner's treasure. The treasure was discovered in March by metal detectorist Walter Hanks in a field in Llandurogs, northwest Wales. Consisting of fewer than 20 coins and coin fragments, three whole ingots and one partial, it is a small find of great historical significance because of its age and rarity.

Fourteen of the coins are silver pennies minted in Dublin during the reign of the Hibernian-Norwegian King Sitrick Anlafsson of Dublin, also known as Sigtrigg Silkbeard (reigned 989-1036). Eight of them date from 995 AD; the other six, three of which are fragments, were minted in 1018 AD. Sitrick coins are very rare finds in mainland Britain. There are also fragments of three or four silver pennies from the reign of Cnut the Great, the Danish king of England, who ruled from 985 or 995 to 1035. Knut's coins were probably produced at the Chester Mint.

Archaeologists believe that the hoard was lost or buried between 1020 and 1030. Bryn Maelgwyn Hoard, discovered in 1979 near Llandudno in Conwy, north Wales, was buried around the same time - after 1024 - and it also contains coins minted by Cnut and Sitrick: 203 Cnut silver pennies and only two Sihtric silver coins. However, the Bryn Maelgwyn coins are believed to have been Viking booty rather than a savings account, unlike the Llandwrog hoard. The weight of the bullion is 115.09 grams out of a total stockpile weight of 127.77 grams. This means that fully 90% of the weight of the hoard is bullion, suggesting that the primary role of the hoard was to store silver.

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