Drawing of an Arabic Coin

Drawing of an Arabic silver dirham from c. 912 AD

Drawing of an Arabic silver dirham minted in the Middle East and probably brought to Lincolnshire by Viking traders.

The dirham was a unit of weight used across North Africa, the Middle East, and Persia, with varying values which also referred to the type of coins used in the Middle East during the Viking Age. These coins were extremely prized possessions not only for their silver value but as a way of displaying one’s wealth and vast trade connections. Millions of Arabic Dirhams would have been imported throughout the Viking world and are mostly found in hoards.

Arabic dirhams demonstrate contact between the Viking diaspora and the Arabic world. Arabic coins are especially useful for dating sites, because they carry the date when they were minted. This permits precise dating where the part of the coin with the date survives, whereas European coins can only be dated to the reign of the ruler depicted on them. In western descriptions of these coins, the Arabic dates found on the coins are usually listed in square brackets, as above, and the European equivalent is listed after it.

Object Type



circa 912


Ascribed Culture



Viking Designs


Arabic, coin, Currency, dirham, drawing, Economy, Lincolnshire, Portable_Antiquities_Scheme, silver, trade

Further information

This object is related to Revesby, Lincolnshire.
Find out about Revesby, Lincolnshire.


Drawing by Adam Parsons of Blueaxe Reproductions


Portable Antiquities Scheme