Metal detectorist finds pre-Viking gold treasure in Denmark

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A Danish detectorist has found 22 gold objects with sixth century symbols that could yield new details about pre-Viking peoples in Denmark, the museum that will house the treasure has said.

Metal detectorist finds pre-Viking gold treasure in Denmark
Hoard of 22 gold objects found outside Jelling [Credit: Vejle Conservation Centre]



Some of the objects have runic motifs and inscriptions which may refer to the rulers of the time, but also recall Norse mythology, Mads Ravn, director of research at the Vejle museums in western Denmark, told AFP.

Metal detectorist finds pre-Viking gold treasure in Denmark
Solidus of Constantine converted into pendant [Credit: Vejle Conservation Centre]

“It is the symbols on the items that makes them unique, more than the quantity found,” according to Dr Ravn, who said the treasure weighed about one kilogram.

Metal detectorist finds pre-Viking gold treasure in Denmark
Jewellery with elaborate gold granulation [Credit: Vejle Conservation Centre]




One piece even refers to the Roman emperor Constantine from the early 4th century, said Dr Ravn. “The find consists of a lot of gold items, including a medallion the size of a saucer,” he added.

Metal detectorist finds pre-Viking gold treasure in Denmark
Elaborate decoration on bracteate [Credit: Vejle Conservation Centre]

According to initial examinations, the treasure could have been buried as an offering to the gods at a chaotic time when the climate in northern Europe dramatically turned colder after a volcanic eruption in Iceland in 536 sent ash clouds into the sky.

Metal detectorist finds pre-Viking gold treasure in Denmark
Bracteate from hoard [Credit: Vejle Conservation Centre]




“They have many symbols, some of which have not been seen before, which will enable us to enlarge our knowledge of the people of this period,” he said.

Metal detectorist finds pre-Viking gold treasure in Denmark
Bracteate in hand [Credit: Vejle Conservation Centre]

The treasure was found near Jelling in southwestern Denmark, which historians say became a cradle for kings of the Viking-age which lasted between the 8th and 12th centuries. The treasure was found about six months ago but the news was only disclosed now.

The treasure will be on display at the museum in Vejle from February 2022.

Source: AFP [September 06, 2021]

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