Polyhedral Weight (LIN-752A9C)

A copper-alloy polyhedral weight found near Sleaford, Lincolnshire

This copper-alloy weight is of a type common within the Scandinavian diaspora. This example has fourteen sides and four dots on each of the rectangular sides. These weights were adopted by the Vikings from Middle Eastern examples and appear to have become a de facto weight standard for traders.

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 800 — 1000

Ascribed Culture

Original/Reproduction

Original

Material

Collection

Viking Objects

Current Location

Private Ownership

Keywords

Arabic, copper_alloy, Danelaw, Economy, Lincolnshire, Portable_Antiquities_Scheme, Sleaford, trade, weight

Further information

You can see the original at Private Ownership.

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

Acknowledgements

Image (c) Lincolnshire County Council, CC BY-SA 4.0

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.