VIKING COWRIE SHELL PENDANT, 9th-11th CENTURY AD
Just over 3/4” length. Natural cowrie with one end pierced for suspension as a pendant, Viking raided extensively in the Mediterranean taking slaves from coastal towns of the Apennine Peninsula (modern Italy and the west coast of the Adriatic Sea. Many of the slaves were sold in North Africa, across the Mediterranean. At the time, cowries were used very broadly as a means of exchange (money). They were found in the Indian Ocean and along the southeast African coast, from the Horn of Africa to Mozambique, some 2500 miles from the Mediterranean. By the time they reached North Africa, they were highly valued and it is likely that this one was either looted by Vikings or part payment for slaves purchased from Vikings. Its patterned glassy surface has turned to chalky white by 1000 years of burial. Wearable with the addition of a jump ring and neck chain.