The arms of the city display the Archangel Michael in the act of slaying the Devil. Legend states that this victory took place near where the city stands, hence its name, and that Michael still stands watch over the city to prevent the Devil's return.
Vikings knew the area around Arkhangelsk as Bjarmaland. Ohthere of Hålogaland told circa 890 of his travels in an area by a river and the White Sea with many buildings. This was probably the place later known as Arkhangelsk. According to Snorri Sturluson, Vikings led by Thorir Hund raided this area in 1027.
In 1989, an unusually impressive silver treasure was found through local farm workers by the mouth of Dvina, right next to present-day Arkhangelsk. It was probably buried in the beginning of the 12th century, and contained articles that may have been up to two hundred years old at that time.
Most of the findings comprised a total of 1.6 kilograms (3.5 lb) of silver, largely in the form of coins. Jewelry and pieces of jewelry come from Russia or neighboring areas. The majority of the coins were German, but the hoard also included a smaller number of Kufan, English, Bohemian, Hungarian, Danish, Swedish and Norwegian coins.
It is hard to place this find historically until further research is completed. There are at least two possible interpretations. It may be a treasure belonging to the society outlined by the Norse source material. Generally such finds, whether from Scandinavia, the Baltic area, or Russia, are closely tied to well-established agricultural societies with considerable trade activity.