The first coin datings from Heimdal

After completed conservation, about a third of the dirhams found during the metal detector survey at Heimdal in May have now been dated.

Photo: Maryam Babashahi, MCH

The museum's specialist on islamic coinage, Houshang Khazaei, has identified the only fully preserved specimen found so far as a Samanidian coin, issued by Amir Ismail Ibn Ahmad (892-907) and minted in Tashkent (Uzbekistan) in AD 904/5. The oldest of the coins investigated so far is considerably older, and was an Ummayadian dirham coined 710/11 in Wasit, Iraque. The majority of the coins identified so far date to the second half of the 8th and the first half of the 9th centuries.

A worn dirham

It remains to be seen what the full dating range of the dirhams from Heimdal will be, but the worn state of the complete dirham - see picture above - indicates that it has circulated for quite some time before ending in the ground, making it highly likely that the site was in function several decades into the 10th century. Whether it was already established at the time of the Gokstad burial around AD 900 - and thus existed in parallel to nearby Kaupang -is still an open question.

More than 50 coins

The ongoing  sieving and metal detector activities at Heimdal has already increased the number of coins from the site considerably, and it appears that the site will produce more than 50 coins within this season, opening up for dating of the site's function period based on coin statistics.

Published Jan. 31, 2013 4:27 PM - Last modified Jan. 31, 2013 4:30 PM