Copper-Alloy Edged Lead Weight (NLM-E6E083)

A circular weight edged with a copper-alloy band found in Market Rasen, Lincolnshire

A lead weight edged with a copper-alloy band. The distinction of weights by embedded objects or other embellishments in various media is a widely recognised feature of some early medieval weights. The object has also been identified as a spindle whorl, though this is less likely. If a weight, it is perhaps an indicator of the Scandinavian bullion economy.

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

Weight

Date

circa 850 — 1000

Ascribed Culture

Original/Reproduction

Original

Material

Collection

Viking Objects

Current Location

Private Ownership

Keywords

Anglo-Saxon, bullion, copper_alloy, Economy, lead, Lincolnshire, Market_Rasen, Portable_Antiquities_Scheme, trade, weight

Further information

You can see the original at Private Ownership.

Acknowledgements

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

References

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.