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Islamic Coins Discovered in Viking’s Shield Boss

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

(Åge Hojem/NTNU Museum of Natural History and Archaeology)

TRONDHEIM, NORWAY—Last year, a metal detectorist discovered a sword from the Viking Age in a field in central Norway. Archaeologists from the Museum of Natural History and Archaeology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology excavated the site, and found a grave dating to about A.D. 950 that contained the remains of a Viking and his shield, in addition to the inscribed, high-quality sword. Hidden inside the shield boss they found a leather purse that contained several Islamic coins. Norwegian Vikings arrived in Spain in the 800s, where they may have come in contact with Islamic culture, or perhaps the coins were obtained through trade. “We have not managed to find out who owned the sword, but we know that he was a well-traveled man,” archaeologist Ingrid Ystgaard told NRK, as reported by ThorNews. The shield boss also bears combat scars. “The shield boss has a clear cut mark by an ax or a sword. If he died in combat, we do not know,” added Ystgaard. To read about the earliest Norse raids, see "The First Vikings."

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