Arab coins unearthed in Viking grave

Viking coin hoarderArchaeologists in Sweden recently discovered a cache of rare Arab silver coins from the Viking era, reports Al Jazeera.

The archaeological site uncovered a total of 472 coins inside a burial site from the Iron Age near Arlanda Airport in Stockholm. The site was discovered when digging began for a new apartment building.

Researchers have identified most of the coins and believe the majority to have been minted in either Damascus or Baghdad. Among the collection are also coins which were produced in North Africa and Persia.

Karin Beckman-Thoor, from the Swedish National Heritage Board, said the coins were likely given to Vikings in trade for goods such as fur, iron and amber. She said it was likely that Vikings traded with Arabs in Russia or the Baltic states.

According to Beckman-Thoor, the Vikings were accomplished travellers. Their ‘graffiti’ can be found as far away as Istanbul, where the walls of a fifth-century religious building, the Hagia Sophia, bear their marks.

The site where the coins were discovered was a grave believed to be around 1,000 years older than the coins. Researchers believe the coins were probably buried there around 840AD.

The discovery of the coins is the first of its kind in Sweden since the 1880s.