A pierced and gilded Samanid silver dirham found in Baumber, Lincolnshire. (c) Lincolnshire County Council
Samanid Silver Dirham Pendant (LCNCC:2014.16)
A pierced and gilded Samanid silver dirham found in Baumber, Lincolnshire
An Arabic silver dirham minted c. 905-906 (Hijra 293) for the Samanid ruler, Isma’il ibn Ahmad (849-907), that has subsequently been pierced and gilded so that it could be worn as a pendant. It was probably minted in Balkh, Afghanistan. The Vikings often repurposed items like this. 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.