Denmark can’t keep up with trove of ancient discoveries made by detectorists


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Amateur Danish archaeologists (aka treasure hunters) have become so good at digging up historic treasures that the National Museum of Denmark can’t keep up.

Denmark can't keep up with trove of ancient discoveries made by detectorists
Detectorist Bent Gregersen on Bornholm [Credit: Mathias Svold]

Jyllands-Posten reported on Tuesday that the museum is receiving so many potentially valuable historical finds that it simply cannot process them in a timely manner.

“We are behind and at the moment we are falling further and further behind. I don’t want to complain about resources, and our treasure trove area is given a high priority but the National Museum has a lot of other tasks that are also priorities,” museum spokesman Mads Schear Mikkelsen told the newspaper.

Danish law states that all uncovered historic artefacts belong to the state and that discoverers are entitled to financial compensation for turning in their finds. Due to the recent boom in finds, wait times for the financial payoff are now as long as two and a half years.

According to Mikkelsen, the number of discoveries are setting new records year after year. He predicted that up to 12,000 artefacts will be registered in 2016, up from the 9,756 that were reported in 2015. Those discoveries resulted in 4.2 million kroner in payments to amateur archaeologists.

Some of the more notable recent discoveries have included the largest-ever find of Viking gold, an 1,100-year-old crucifix that may change the understanding of when Christianity came to Denmark, a hoard of 700 year-old coins, some 2,000 gold spirals used by sun-worshiping priest-kings during the Bronze Age, and a ‘lost’ rune stone that turned up in a farmer’s backyard, to name just a few.

Source: The Local [July 20, 2016]



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