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Ronaldsway bronze balance scales

Date made: Viking: 800-1265

Description: These balance scales were discovered during archaeological excavations at Ronaldsway and date to the Viking period. They are made from a copper alloy, most likely bronze. At each end of the straight bar, there is a carved head of a bird or dragon-like mystical beast. They were used to weigh precious metal and coins to make sure that they were as valuable as they looked.

One arm of the scales has had small notches cut into it. This would enable the hanging weight to be adjusted along the length of the arm according to how heavy the items on the other end were.

Vikings were raiders, but they were predominantly traders, travelling throughout Europe and beyond, brokering deals to exchange furs, silver honey, wool, jewellery and slaves. With the large amount of Viking currency so far found on the Isle of Man, we can suggest that the Island was a central part of this trading market in Viking times.

Measurements: overall: 9.5 cm x 2.1 cm x .9 cm

Materials: metal: bronze

Date found: 1930s

Object name: balance

Collection: Archaeology Collection

ID number: 1964-0144/224


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