Circular Weight (LEIC-5C4051)

A lead-alloy weight with encrusted stone found near Shepshed, Leicestershire

This circular weight has a centrally placed orange stone chip inlaid into it.  The distinction of weights by embedded objects or other embellishments in various media is a widely recognised feature of some early medieval weights.

Weights are an important form of evidence for Viking Age commerce and the use of standards across the different economic systems within which Vikings were integrated. Many of the weights discovered, particularly ones in Ireland and those of Arabic type, suggest that a standardized system of weights existed in some areas. These standard weights, alongside standard values of silver, are what allowed the bullion economy of Viking occupied areas to function. A bullion economy was a barter economy that relied on the exchange of set amounts of precious metal in various forms, such as arm-rings or coins, for tradable goods, such as food or textiles. Each merchant would have brought their own set of weights and scales to a transaction to make sure that the trade was conducted fairly.

Object Type



circa 850 — 1100

Ascribed Culture





Viking Objects

Current Location

Private Ownership


bullion, Economy, lead_alloy, Leicestershire, Portable_Antiquities_Scheme, trade, Viking, weight

Further information

You can see the original at Private Ownership.


(c) Portable Antiquities Scheme, CC BY-SA 2.0


Portable Antiquities Scheme

Kilger, Christoph. “Hack-silver, weights and coinage: the Anglo-Scandinavian bullion coinages and their use in late Viking-Age society.” In James Graham-Campbell et al. ed. Silver Economies, Monetisation and Society in Scandinavia, AD 800-1100. (Aarhus: Universitetsforlag, 2011), p. 259-280.