Tracing the Late Viking Age and Medieval Butter Economy: The View from Quoygrew, Orkney

Aaron Critch, Jennifer Harland, James Barrett

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Silver, Butter, Cloth advances current debates about the nature and complexity of Viking economic systems. It explores how silver and other commodities were used in monetary and social economies across the Scandinavian world of the Viking Age (c. 800-1100 AD) before and alongside the wide scale introduction of coinage. Taking a multi-disciplinary approach that unites archaeological, numismatic, and metallurgical analyses, Kershaw and Williams examine the uses and sources of silver in both monetary and social transactions, addressing topics such as silver fragmentation, hoarding, and coin production and re-use. Uniquely, it also goes beyond silver, giving the first detailed consideration of the monetary role of butter, cloth, and gold in the Viking economy. Indeed, it is instrumental in developing methodologies to identify such commodity monies in the archaeological record. The use of silver and other commodities within Viking economies is a dynamic field of study, fuelled by important recent discoveries across the Viking world. The 14 contributions to this book, by a truly international group of scholars, draw on newly available archaeological data from eastern Europe, Scandinavia, the North Atlantic, and the British Isles and Ireland, to present the latest original research. Together, they deepen understanding of Viking monetary and social economies and advance new definitions of 'economy', 'currency', and 'value' in the ninth to eleventh centuries.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSilver, Butter, Cloth
Subtitle of host publicationMonetary and Social Economies in the Viking Age
EditorsJane Kershaw, Gareth Williams
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9780192563057
ISBN (Print)9780198827986
Publication statusPublished - 6 Dec 2018

Publication series

NameMedieval History and Archaeology
PublisherOxford University Press


  • 15ref2021


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