Illegal Viking coin hoard could rewrite English history
A hoard of Viking coins worth at least half a million British pounds has been recovered by police investigating the illegal trade of historic treasures and they tell a completely different story of Alfred the Great’s role in English history.
The Recovery of the Viking Coins
Codenamed “Operation Fantail”, the sting was directed by Detective Inspector Lee Gosling of Durham police who said several suspected criminals have been arrested on suspicion of dealing in “culturally tainted objects”.
He told reporters, “We believe the material recovered comes from a hoard of immense historical significance relating to the Vikings and we are delighted to have been able to hand it over to the British Museum.”
The coins (and a silver ingot ) were recovered by police at homes in County Durham and Lancashire earlier this month and would have circulated around 878 AD, at a time when Alfred the Great of Wessex, a powerful Anglo-Saxon warrior king fought a series of battles against Vikings which was to lead to the creation of a unified England under Alfred and his successors.
The Viking Coins Tell A Different Story
A ‘leading expert’ informed the MailOnline that the Viking coins could “add significantly to our understanding of the political history of England in the 870s AD” as they depict King Alfred of Wessex standing beside King Ceolwulf II of Mercia, who until now was held by historians to be “a puppet of the Vikings – a minor nobleman rather than a proper king”, in his own right.
It was thought that Ceolwulf had ruled for five years before vanishing from history around 879 AD when Alfred took over his kingdom, but the coins challenge this theory by showing the two rulers standing together as allies.
Dr. Gareth Williams, curator of Early Medieval Coins and Viking Collections at the British Museum told reporters the find was “nationally important”.
The depiction suggests an entirely different history and experts now think that the Mercian king might have been “airbrushed out of history” by Alfred’s chroniclers and if these speculations are confirmed, the coins will reshape views on how England was united.
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