A hoard of 14 silver pennies, whose origins lie in Viking Age Dublin, have just been declared treasure in Wales. They were discovered in March of this year by Mr Walter Hanks near Llandwrog in Gwynedd. Eight of the coins date from between 995-997 AD, while the remainder were produced in circa 1018 AD. The hoard also contained fragments of pennies of Cnut, King of England and four silver ingots. It is believe that this treasure was most likely hidden or lost between 1020 and 1030 AD, which makes it approximately contemporary with the Bryn Maelgwyn hoard.
These newly discovered Viking pennies represent Ireland’s very first indigenous coinage and were minted in Dublin under the authority of Sitric Silkbeard, the Hiberno-Norse king of the city. Sitric was a remarkable figure in Dublin’s early history. In circa 995 AD he founded Ireland’s first coin mint in the city, while in 1014 AD his troops fought Brian Bóruma at the Battle Clontarf, an encounter which Sitric survived. Later in his reign he commissioned Christchurch Cathedral, today Dublin’s oldest surviving building, while he also founded the city’s first Bishopric, a move which saw Viking Dublin finally abandon its pagan roots.