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14.05.2021

Sandur Hoard

The Sandur Hoard of the Faroe Islands was found in Sandur in 1863 and consists of 98 medieval silver coins that were probably buried between 1070 and 1080. This hoard is the oldest and only coin hoard found in the archipelago.

The coin hoard from Sandur is interesting not only because of the age of the coins, but also because of their origin, as it shows what countries the Faroese traded with already in the 11th century. It is believed that the Viking Age ended on the Faroe Islands in 1035. During the following period of time, the Faroe Islands became increasingly under the influence of Norway, which subsequently led to the actual monetary system of the Faroe Islands.

Today the coins are in the National Museum of the Faroe Islands (Faroese: Føroya Fornminnissavn) in Thorshavn and are one of the main attractions of the city.

The coins were found in 1863 completely by accident. Gravediggers were digging a grave in the Sandur cemetery, which had to be particularly deep to bury the bodies of two plague victims.

The find turned out to be where the altar of Sandur's first church (the second church on the Faroe Islands) stood. Today, historians speculate that this church was the private chapel of a wealthy farmer, as a Viking cemetery had been excavated in the vicinity. This treasure probably belonged to a wealthy farmer rather than the church.

If the coins belonged to a wealthy farmer, the large number of coins from Germany indicates the export of Faroese wool there and/or the middlemen who conducted the trade with these coins.

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