Sep 11 – 16, 2022
University of Warsaw
Europe/Warsaw timezone

North Sea Gold Economy in the Age of “Gift Exchange”, c.450–c.760

Sep 13, 2022, 11:40 AM
Auditorium Maximum - Hall C

Auditorium Maximum - Hall C


Kevin Hoffman (Yale University )


This paper examines the corpus of gold coins and coin-like objects from the North Sea area in a broadly construed Merovingian period, c.450–c.760. While Grierson’s position on a non-economic use of gold in the early middle ages has generally carried the day, there have been others, such as Michael Metcalf and Mark Blackburn, who have voiced varying degrees of dissent. Based on the quantity and distribution of these gold finds from archaeological sites and other finds—both single and hoarded—it seems there has been a degree of scholarly undervaluing of the economic role of these objects. The quantities and distributions of the objects present variation by region which indicates a greater economic sophistication than is normally allowed in areas that might have been more economically integrated, such as East Anglia and the southern North Sea littoral, while other areas are peripheral—Brittany and Wessex, for example.

Primary author

Kevin Hoffman (Yale University )

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