Three amateur metal detectorists have inadvertently become part of Denmark's history by discovering two sets of hidden Viking treasures dating back over 1,000 years. Jane Foged-Mønster, Louise Stahlschmidt, and Mette Norre Bækgaard stumbled upon the trove while on holiday in Hobro, North Denmark, in late 2022.
The two hoards were buried in the same field, about 164 feet (50 meters) apart. Among the 300 silver items found were many Danish, German, and Arab coins. The Danish coins date back to the reign of Viking King Harald Blåtand (958 - 987 CE). They feature a cross on one side indicating they were minted sometime between 970 and 980 CE. The monarch's previous currency did not have the cross. Experts suspect it was added to spread Christianity among the Danes.
The trove also included cut-up silver jewelry. Archeologists from Nordjyske Museums think it was stolen by the Vikings. They later chopped it up and used the silver pieces as a means of payment. This was either due to the scarcity of coins or the convenience of using small silver fragments for transactions.
This is not the first time treasures from the latter half of the 900s have been found. But the recent discovery is particularly intriguing due to its proximity to a Viking settlement.
"The two silver treasures constitute a fantastic story in themselves, but to find them abandoned in a settlement only eight kilometers from Harald Blåtand's Viking fortress Fyrkat is incredibly exciting," says Nordjyske Museums archeologist Torben Trier Christiansen.
The expert says the treasures were buried around the same time the area was abandoned. This leads him to speculate the monarch was forced out of the castle. He may have buried them before leaving the area.
The museum officials plan to further investigate the field once harvesting season is over. They do not expect to find any more treasures. But they have evidence that the artifacts were buried inside or close to buildings. They are curious as to know to whom the structures belonged.
The recently-found silver artifacts will be displayed at Denmark's Aalborg Historical Museum starting July 1, 2023.
Resources: nordjyskemuseer.dk, theguardian.com