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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

Culture, Imagination and Memory: Medieval Narratives of Time Seminar

27th November 2012, 17:30 to 18:30, Birley Room, Hatfield College , Professor Svein H. Gullbekk (University of Oslo)

Title - 'Vikings and their money: Reflections on time'


The question of money in the Viking world is part of an ongoing debate between scholars working within archaeology, history, anthropology and numismatics: what was the role of money in Viking society, how did the Vikings perceive money, and, indeed what money was for this society. In recent years the number of stray finds of coins has provided a different and more subtle understanding of coin use both within the Danelaw in England and parts of Scandinavia. So too, the ever-increasing number of hoards from Gotland confirms the importance on hoarding within the Gotlandic society. Commodity money was a feature of the Viking society that seldom appears in the archaeological remains. In this lecture I will discuss commodity money in relation to silver and coinage, and then introduce some reflections on time in relation to what was used and what was understood as money in late Viking Age society.


Svein H. Gullbekk (Doctor Philosophiae, born 1967) was appointed Associate Professor of the Viking Age and Medieval History and Numismatics at the Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo in  2003. His areas of research are Viking and Medieval history and numismatics with emphasis on the use of money.


Publications in English include ‘Money and its use in the thought and experience of Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury (1093–1109)’, with Giles E.M. Gasper, Journal of Medieval History 38 (2011), pp. 155-182.; ‘Money and its use in the Saga Society’, in Svavar Sigmundsson (ed.),  Viking Settlements and Viking Society: Papers from the Proceedings of the Sixteenth Viking Congress, Reykjavík and Reykholt, 16-23 August 2009,  University of Iceland Press 2011,  pp. 176–188.;‘Norway: Commodity Money, Silver and Coins’, in James Graham-Campbell; Søren Michael Sindbæk & Gareth Williams (ed.),  Silver Economies, Monetisation and Society in Scandinavia AD 800-1100,  Aarhus University press  2011, Ch. 4, pp. 93-112.

Contact for more information about this event.