Prior to the commencement of an extensive programme of urban archaeological excavation in Dublin, spanning the period 1961 - 1981, the main archaeological evidence for the Viking presence in Ireland came from a small number of burial sites and stray finds, many of them from rivers. Ninth and 10th Century Viking graves were discovered in coastal locations such as Arklow, Co. Wicklow, Ballyholm, Co. Down, Eyrephort, Co. Galway, and in more extensive cemeteries at Kilmainham and Islandbridge on the banks of the River Liffey, in Dublin. The graves were furnished with grave-goods including weapons such as swords and spears, together with jewellery and personal items. The presence of well-furnished female graves, along with craftsmen’s tools and weights and scales for engaging in commercial transactions, shows that the early Viking presence in Ireland was not simply characterised by the activities of marauding raiders. Finds of Viking Age hoards containing silver ingots, hack silver and coins emphasise the commercial aspect of the Viking presence in Ireland.

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