Red Wharf Bay arm-rings

Contributed by National Museum Wales Cardiff

Silver arm-rings from Red Wharf Bay, Anglesey. © National Museum of Wales

When these were made, people would pay for goods in silver by weight - often chopping bits off to the agreed amount.This hoard of five silver arm-rings, discovered between about 1887 and 1894 near the eastern tip of Red Wharf Bay on Angelsey, are remarkable for their fine condition and completeness. They date from the first phase of Viking contact with Wales. Anglesey during the late ninth and early tenth century was the economic and political homeland of the kingdom of Gwynedd. The island became a particular target for seaborne raids from 855. One notable episode started with the landing of Viking leader Ingimund and his followers, who had been expelled as 'foreigners' from Dublin about 902/3. They attempted to establish a base on Anglesey, but were eventually expelled after defeat in battle.

The Red Wharf Bay hoard was probably deposited within a decade of Ingimund's attempt to colonize Anglesey. The identity of the depositor and recipient remain unknown - a gift to a Welsh lord?

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