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The distribution patterns of silver hoards in Ireland give us the most information about the relations between the Vikings and the Irish. Coinless hoards are fairly evenly spread, however with a concentration in the central midlands. Mixed hoards and coin hoards are found predominantly in the midlands and east coast of Ireland. The majority of silver hoards were deposited in areas of Ireland that were not under control by the Vikings which can be taken as evidence that although many of the finds were Viking in style, they were in fact in the ownership of the native Irish. We cannot be certain how the wealth was acquired but the fact that the hoards were found in contemporary native Irish territory suggests evidence of trade and the process of giving receiving gifts between the Irish and the Vikings. The changing economy of Viking Ireland can be seen by the steady transformation of what was contained in hoards. From the late 9th century to the early 10th century there is a steady transition from a bullion economy (seen in the coinless hoards) to an economy which imported and used coins. Coins were in existence before the burial of coin hoards, however many were melted to their silver state in order to be used for other objects. Coins began being retained, and this transition is represented by the mixed hoards which can be associated with the foundation of the Scandinavian towns during the beginning of the 10th century. From the mid of the 10th century, coinless and mixed hoards decline dramatically whilst coin hoards become more prominent. By the beginning of the 11th century the transformation from bullion is completed.


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