The great streams of silver that reached Scandinavia in the Viking Ages – first the Arabic silver from Russia, and later coins from Germany and Britain – were for the most part converted into silver jewellery by local craftsmen.
Much of the silver arrived as coins, whether through trade, looting or as paid danegeld [a tax raised to pay tribute to the Viking raiders to save a town from being ravaged]. However, in the beginning the central element was the weight of the silver, rather than the coins themselves.
This turned the balance weight scale into an important tool, along with its accompanying weights. Weights were among the most important tools in the Viking Age as they were a prerequisite for many types of trading. The weights made it possible to value items and to get the correct payment for them – the very nerve centre of business. Trading was a highly specialised profession, and items of great value were sometimes at stake.