A group of amateur archaeologists has unearthed the largest Viking gold hoard so far in Denmark, according to the Danish National Museum.
The hoard consists of seven bracelets unearthed in a field in Vejen Municipality on Jutland. Six of these bracelets are in gold and one in silver. The total weight of the gold amounts to 900 grams.
“We really felt that we had found the gold at the end of the rainbow when we found the first ring, and when more appeared it was almost unreal,” Marie Aagaard Larsen, one of the amateur archaeologists, in a press released by the Danish National Museum.
The three amateur archaeologists made the discovery using metal detectors. But after finding the first three rings, the amateur archaeologists called in professional back-up from Sønderskov Museum.
The bracelets probably belonged to the Viking elite, according to the Danish Viking expert Peter Pentz. The rings may have been given as a gift from a magnate for building alliances, as a reward for his subordinates, or as so-called oath ring, “edsringe” in Danish, a sort of proof of allegiance and loyalty.
Further affirming that these bracelets really belonged to a Viking “aristocracy” are that one of the bracelets was decorated in the Jellinge Style – an art style thought to be closely related to the highest classes in Viking society. The style is characterized by markedly stylized and often band-shaped bodies of animals.
Pentz concludes that it is unusual to find a treasure hoard from the Viking age that consists of so much gold – silver is much more common. But this is actually not the first treasure found in this exact area. A smaller gold treasure was found in 1911, consisting of a single gold chain that was probably buried at the same time as the bracelets.
Archaeologists may explore the site further to try to discover why the valuables ended up where they did and if there are possibly more hidden treasures to found.
Museum Press Release Amatørarkæologer finder Danmarks største guldskat fra vikingetiden