NCL-D4EBD5: Viking Trade weight

Rights Holder: Tyne and Wear Museums
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Unique ID: NCL-D4EBD5

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Awaiting validation Find awaiting validation

A complete Viking cast lead-alloy trade weight dating from the early medieval period - the 9th or 10th century.

The weight comprises a cut fragment of ornamental cast copper alloy metalwork (possibly gilt) set into a lead base. The item appears complete. It is of flat cubic shape with the ornamental copper alloy inset covering all of the upper surface. The decoration of the copper alloy piece is simple: a small square surrounded by four L-shapes with arms of equal length. The interior of the smaller geometrical shapes is scratched/roughened up, possibly to receive and hold enamel. One of the L shaped cells has very degraded traces of red enammel within it, The whole is surrounded by am etched square. The copper-alloy top of the object has a clear brown band around it, which may be more enamel? or a reidue from the attachement of the lead-alloy to the copper-alloy. A very similar lead weight from Cardiff (NMGW-07268F) depicts the same ornament, though a different arrangement of it.

Weights in the Viking period are believed to have been used for weighing precious metals while trading. Corrosion and some peripheral loss, together with differing systems of weighing now make it difficult to suggest an original unit weight. This decorative motif on the mount set into the weight can be closely paralleled another lead weight from near Cardiff (NMGW-07268F) as well as other object from Wales. The entry for the lead weight from Cardiff mentions two examples from Anglesey, one of which was found on the early medieval enclosed settlement near Llanbedrgoch on Anglesey (Redknap, 2007, p. 78, no 43) , the other example from Brynsiencyn (Redknap, 2007, p. 78, no 42). Both examples are ascribed a 10th century date and are decorated with a single central square, flanked on each corner with L-shaped cells. This piece is, however, the only object of its type in Northumberland. A similar piece from Cumbria (database reference LANCUM-1943D1) has also been found.


  • Redknap, Mark, 'Crossing Boundaries-stylistic Diversity and external Contacts in Early Medieval Wales and the March: reflections on Metalwork and Sculpture, Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies 53/54 (2007) 23-86

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: EARLY MEDIEVAL

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Width: 23.08 mm
Thickness: 12.72 mm
Weight: 25.46 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Thursday 6th September 2018

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mr Andrew Agate
Identified by: Mr Andrew Agate

Other reference numbers

Other reference: #9169

Materials and construction

Primary material: Lead
Completeness: Complete
Surface Treatment: Inlaid with enamel

Spatial metadata

Region: North East (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
Parish or ward: Ulgham (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: NZ2291
Four figure Latitude: 55.21275681
Four figure longitude: -1.65580103
1:25K map: NZ2291
1:10K map: NZ29SW
Grid reference source: From finder
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 10 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
Discovery circumstances: Metal detecting

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Audit data

Recording Institution: NCL
Created: 2 months ago
Updated: 2 months ago

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