The salvaged treasure trove of ancient Viking coins is worth more than $ 600,000 and was saved from being sold in the black market.
Police investigating the illegal trade of historical treasures has confiscated a treasure trove of ancient Viking coins that date back to the 9th century reports the Daily Mail.
The ancient coins are believed to date back to the reign of King Alfred (Alfred the Great).
The coins were recovered from private houses in County Durham and Lancashire this month, where the coins were being kept while being offered for sale in the black market.
“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,” explained to the Daily Mail Detective Inspector Lee Gosling, Senior Investigating Officer for Operation Fantail at Durham Constabulary.
In addition to their enormous historical and economic value, depictions engraved on the coins reveal a previously unknown alliance between King Alfred and his contemporary Ceolwulf II, king of Mercia, something that adds a new chapter to the history of ancient England.
Scholars believed until now that Ceolwulf II of Mercia was a simple puppet of the Vikings – a minor nobleman instead of a king in all rights.
However, the recently-discovered coins depict both Ceolwulf II and King Alfred standing side by side, as allies.
While Alfred became known as a national hero who defeated the invading Danes, the role of Ceolwulf II was totally ignored.
“This is the period in which Alfred the Great was fighting the Vikings, but which also led to the creation of a unified kingdom of England under Alfred and his successors. The hoard contains coins both of Alfred and of his contemporary Ceolwulf II, King of Mercia,” revealed Dr. Gareth Williams, curator of Early Medieval Coins and Viking Collections at the British Museum.
“I think that the coins show that Ceolwulf II was in an alliance with Alfred of Wessex, and not a puppet of the Vikings as suggested in sources written at Alfred’s court a few years later, by which time Ceolwulf had disappeared without a trace from history and Alfred had taken over his kingdom,” explained Dr. Williams.
‘However, the coins show a working relationship with Alfred which the sources ‘forgot’ to mention, and his name suggests that he may well have been a legitimate descendant of earlier kings of Mercia,” added Dr. Williams.