Three amateur archaeologists in Denmark have unearthed the biggest-ever Viking-era gold treasure trove found in the country.
Seven bracelets – six gold and and one silver – dating from 900 A.D. were recovered from a field in Jutland by the hobby treasure hunters known as Team Rainbow Power.
The 900g find came from the same field where a 67g Viking-era gold chain was discovered in 1911 and experts believe it was likely part of the same collection. The heaviest previous find of its kind weighed 750g.
One of the archaeologists involved, Marie Aagaard Larsen, said: “We really felt that we had found the gold at the end of the rainbow when we found the first ring, but when more appeared it was almost unreal.”
Lars Grundvad from Sønderskov Museum, who was called in by the amateur group halfway through the discovery, revealed he had an inkling all along that the area harbored more hidden gems.
“At the museum, we had talked about how interesting it could be to check out the area with metal detectors because there was a 67-gramme gold chain found there back in 1911,” he said in a museum statement. “But I would never in my wildest dreams have believed that amateur archaeologists could find seven Viking bracelets.”
The museum described some of the gold items as being designed in the ‘Jelling’ style – a variety associated with Viking elite. According to Peter Pentz, a Viking expert and curator at Denmark’s National Museum, the bangles were likely ‘Oath rings’ given by tribal chiefs as presents to their loyal lieutenants.
Pentz, however, is unsure why the bangles were buried in the first place.
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“The treasure could have been buried in some sort of ritual in the 900s. But it may also be the case that the treasure was buried because someone wanted to take care of it, and then for some reason never retrieved it.”
The jewelry will be put on display at Sønderskov Museum before going to Copenhagen’s National Museum for further study.