In Norway, an amateur makes the “gold find of the century”

At the beginning of the year, Erlend Bore, a 51-year-old Norwegian, urged by his doctor to exercise more, decided to buy a metal detector to explore the mountains of the island of Rennesøy, in the municipality of Stavanger, in Norway.

During one of his walks in August, this amateur archaeologist accidentally discovered a treasure trove of gold jewelry – three rings, as well as nine medallions and ten beads that once formed a necklace – dating from the so-called “migration” period in Norway, around 500 AD. This discovery has been described as “gold find of the century in Norway” by specialists from the Archaeological Museum of the University of Stavanger, in a press release.

“At first I thought they were chocolate coins or Captain Sabertooth coins”said Erlend Bore, referring to a famous fictional Norwegian pirate. “It’s totally unreal!” »

After unearthing this treasure weighing just over 100 grams, Erlend Bore called on experts who were surprised by the importance of the discovery. “In Norway, no similar discovery has been made since the 19th century. This is a very unusual discovery in a Scandinavian context”specifies Håkon Reiersen, professor at the Stavanger Museum, at Guardian.

The medallions found, thin and flat, with a relief pattern on the face and hollow on the reverse, are called “bracteates” (from the Latin bractea, meaning “small sheet of metal”). Most of these artifacts date back to the Germanic Iron Age (between 400 and 800 AD) and were discovered in southern Scandinavia. According to Sigmund Oehrl, also a professor at the museum and an expert on the subject, around 1,000 of these objects have been identified so far in Norway, Sweden and Denmark.

Håkon Reiersen specifies that the gold beads are part of a “very showy necklace”, surely made by skilled goldsmiths and worn by the most powerful members of the clan. Sigmund Oehrl adds that bracteates generally represent the Norse god Odin healing his son’s sick horse. On the gold medallions discovered at Rennesøy, the horse’s tongue stuck out, suggesting an injury to the animal. “His slumped posture and twisted legs show he is injured”he explains.

“In the 6th century there was a great crisis in Scandinavia. It was the deterioration of the climate and probably the plague which caused the death of a large part of the population. Either they are valuables hidden during a troubled time, or they are an offering to the gods”continues Håkon Reiersen.

According to Norwegian law, Erlend Bore and the owner of the land where the treasure was discovered will receive a reward, the amount of which remains unknown. Since these objects date from before 1537, they are considered state property, as are coins dating from more than 1650. These artifacts are expected to be exhibited at the Stavanger Archaeological Museum.

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