The artefact assemblage from Llanbedrgoch is now substantial (over 2,000 items) and has multiplied the total number of Viking period artefacts previously known from Wales, making it a so-called 'productive' site.
Provisioning of the settlement
1. The large amount of animal bone has yet to be analysed, but first impressions confirm the importance of domesticated livestock, such as cattle, to the site's economy.
2. Carbonised grains of barley recovered from the hearth in Building 1 - together with wheat and oats, formed an important native crop on Anglesey, dubbed Môn mam Cymru, 'Mona, mother of Wales'.
3. Clenched nails from the midden. The larger one is identical to Viking boat fastenings from Dublin and Balladoole on the Isle of Man.
Some finds suggest that the site attracted craftsmen and merchants as a component of Viking ('Hiberno-Norse') economic and political activity in the Irish Sea area, thought the economic importance and scale of industry in relation to farming is at present uncertain.
4. Tools include a hammer head, as well as a socketed awl and several 'toothed socketed tools' associated with leather working. Similar toothed tools are known at a number of early medieval sites in Ireland and England, including Dublin, Whithorn and York. Hides could be turned into a variety of goods such as shoes, sheaths, purses, belts, straps and harnesses.
5. Silver and bronze casting has been recognised in the form of droplets of silver and copper alloy and the copper alloy waste sprue, may derive from the casting of jewellery and mass-produced ornaments. The small copper alloy ingot displays small indents from being struck by a small hammer.
6. Lead trial piece (incomplete) with stamped decoration and the form of a broad band arm-ring of Hiberno-Norse type, from Llanbedrgoch. It is generally considered that most or all penannular arm-ringsof this type are of Hioberno-Norse origin, an important product of Dublin's silversmiths, but they may also have been made on Anglesey.
Trade and exchange
Some objects recovered from Llanbedrgoch bear the unmistakable mark of the Hiberno-Norse style typical of the Irish Sea area, and points to an elevated role in the first half of the 10th century as market centre, perhaps on a seasonal basis, during the reign of Hywel Dda:
7. Silver from the enclosure. It includes mid 10th-century silver pennies, fragment of Kufic dirhem, a strap-end, a finger ring, and fragments of hack-silver.
8. A selection of some 19 lead weights of diverse form (discoid, conical, truncated sphere, square and capped) and size (from 6.39g to 46.8g). Two are capped with recycled ninth-century Insular metalwork (an enamelled mount with parallels from north of England and Iceland, and the gilt bronze terminal from a ninth-century pseudo-penannular brooch).
9. Tenth-century copper alloy ringed pins, one baluster-headed, paralleled by examples from Chester, Dublin and York.
10. Iron bridle mount. The cells are filled with either red or yellow enamel forming a stepped pattern around a central equal-armed cross. The use of iron for enamelwork in the medieval Celtic tradition is virtually unknown in contemporary Europe and rare in Ireland.
11. Silver inlaid buckle and iron strap end. The buckle has parallels at Whithorn, while the strap end, one of three identical examples from the site, has parallels at York.
12. Four small copper-alloy bells have been found, two only last June, though none from stratified contexts: two are of hexagonal type with protruding feet at the angles. Discoveries of examples in graves such as grave VII at Peel, Isle of Man, have indicated to Eldjarn and others that they may have been worn as charms on a necklace with beads. Many are 10th century, and the distribution stretches from Iceland to n Scotland (Caithness, Sutherland) and Irish Sea area (Man and Meols), to the Danelaw.
13. Silver strap end retaining traces of niello inlay found near to the spring within the Viking period enclosure. The style and design are typical of Anglo-Saxon ornamental metalwork in the 'Trewhiddle' style, and it is of 9th-century date.
What is it?
Small fragment of worked bone (scale in mm), decorated with drilled holes. One hole has a slightly larger diameter (?eye). Both ends are broken. Is it a toy (part of an animal), or something else? Please email any suggestions.