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Mon Sep 13, 2021, 09:39 AM

Amateur Treasure Hunter Discovers Trove of Sixth-Century Gold Jewelry

First-time treasure hunter Ole Ginnerup Schytz had only been out with his new metal detector for a few hours when he stumbled onto an astounding discovery: a stash of 1,500-year-old gold artifacts dated to the Iron Age. Now, experts have deemed the find—made in a field near the town of Jelling in southwestern Denmark last December—one of the largest and most important in Danish history.

Schytz recalls hearing the device activate, then moving aside soil to uncover a small, bent piece of metal. “It was scratched and covered in mud,” he tells Steffen Neupert of Danish broadcast station TV Syd, per a translation by Sarah Cascone of Artnet News. “I had no idea, so all I could think of was that it looked like the lid of a can of herring.” The amateur metal detectorist had actually unearthed what turned out to be the first of 22 pieces of sixth-century gold jewelry. In total, the trove weighed just over two pounds.

Months after Schytz’s chance discovery, the Vejlemuseerne in Jutland has finally revealed the ancient treasures to the public. “This is the biggest find that has come in the 40 years I have been at the National Museum [of Denmark],” archaeologist Peter Vang Petersen tells TV Syd, per Artnet News. “We have to go back to the 16th and 18th centuries to find something similar.” According to a statement, the haul consists primarily of bracteates—medallions that were popular in northern Europe during the Migration Period (roughly 300 to 700 C.E.). Women would have worn the pendants, which were often inscribed with magical symbols or runes, for protection.

Many of the symbols seen on the newly unearthed bracteates are unfamiliar to experts, Mads Ravn, director of research at the Vejle museums, tells Agence France-Presse (AFP). Interpreting them will help shed light on the little-understood societies that inhabited the region prior to the Vikings. “It is the symbolism represented on these objects that makes them unique, more than the quantity found,” says Ravn. The objects’ immaculate craftsmanship points to their original owner’s probable high status. “Only one member of society’s absolute top [would have] been able to collect a treasure like the one found here,” says Ravn in the statement. When experts excavated the site where Schytz found the hoard, they discovered the ruins of a village longhouse. Without the amateur treasure hunter’s discovery, “there was nothing that could [have made] us predict that an unprecedented warlord or great man lived here, long before the kingdom of Denmark arose in the following centuries,” Ravn adds.

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/amateur-treasure-hunter-denmark-discovers-trove-sixth-century-gold-jewelry-180978640/

Many of the symbols seen on the bracteates are unfamiliar to researchers.
(Konserveringscenter Vejle / Vejlemuseerne)

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Reply Amateur Treasure Hunter Discovers Trove of Sixth-Century Gold Jewelry (Original post)
left-of-center2012 Sep 2021 OP
lagomorph777 Sep 2021 #1
Haggard Celine Sep 2021 #5
lagomorph777 Sep 2021 #6
Mosby Sep 2021 #2
Shrike47 Sep 2021 #9
Hekate Sep 2021 #19
The Blue Flower Sep 2021 #3
mahina Sep 2021 #7
geardaddy Sep 2021 #11
FSogol Sep 2021 #32
Luciferous Sep 2021 #36
Backseat Driver Sep 2021 #4
multigraincracker Sep 2021 #8
Klaralven Sep 2021 #10
FSogol Sep 2021 #33
KewlKat Sep 2021 #12
Bernardo de La Paz Sep 2021 #14
Joinfortmill Sep 2021 #16
KS Toronado Sep 2021 #18
lagomorph777 Sep 2021 #26
Hekate Sep 2021 #17
left-of-center2012 Sep 2021 #21
Hekate Sep 2021 #25
left-of-center2012 Sep 2021 #29
Hekate Sep 2021 #34
Hugin Sep 2021 #23
left-of-center2012 Sep 2021 #30
Hugin Sep 2021 #13
left-of-center2012 Sep 2021 #22
Hugin Sep 2021 #24
lagomorph777 Sep 2021 #27
Hugin Sep 2021 #28
Joinfortmill Sep 2021 #15
Hekate Sep 2021 #20
Nevilledog Sep 2021 #31
Xolodno Sep 2021 #35

Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 09:42 AM

1. Nice to see one of us Ol' Shits doing well for himself!

Great find!

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Response to lagomorph777 (Reply #1)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 09:53 AM

5. I liked that name, too.

He's a lucky ole schyt!

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Response to Haggard Celine (Reply #5)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 09:54 AM

6. Heee!

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 09:45 AM

2. So does he own the hoard or did Denmark take it?

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Response to Mosby (Reply #2)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 10:11 AM

9. I Googled it; State gets it but finder is given compensation by the Museum Board.

How much compensation is apparently a decision by the Board as far I got in to it, which wasn’t very far.

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Response to Shrike47 (Reply #9)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 12:43 PM

19. I think as part or even all of my "compensation" I'd covet having one small piece from this hoard

What a treasure that would be.

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 09:48 AM

3. The Detectorists: a gem of a bbc series

Highly recommended.

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Response to The Blue Flower (Reply #3)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 09:59 AM

7. 100% fresh

Excellent

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Response to The Blue Flower (Reply #3)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 12:23 PM

11. Good show.

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Response to The Blue Flower (Reply #3)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 01:20 PM

32. Completely agree. n/t

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Response to The Blue Flower (Reply #3)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 02:49 PM

36. I love that show!

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 09:48 AM

4. Quite an extraordinary find!

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 10:04 AM

8. I now find lots of treasures.

I use to metal detect for years back in the 80s. Never found all that much in value. Lots of interesting items that made it worthwhile.

Now I find treasure that are worth lots of $ at yard sales. Last Friday my partner and I were out for about 4 hours. Just some of the days finds. An antique primitive apple box for $10, worth, to me at the mall, about $65. Also got a vintage Pullmans Platform step from Canadian International Rail Road made of iron for $7 worth $60. Also, a lady was unloading a tote from her car and struggling with it, so I helped her. I spotted and old prosthetic leg for below the knee. I ask how much she would like for it. She looked very surprised that I was interested, I could have it for free. Her husband had just got a newer much nicer one and didn't need it. Price zero and I have it for sale for $30. I think it would make a nice lamp.

Just my usual treasure hunt now. I love my side gig.

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 11:00 AM

10. Dated to 536 AD, the worst year to be alive

 

Archaeologists posit that the gold was buried to protect it from invaders, or as a last-ditch offering to the gods. The find is dated to around 536, when a volcanic eruption in Iceland covered the sky in ash and caused widespread famine in Scandinavia. Other gold troves found in the region, including a group of 32 artifacts unearthed on the island of Hjarnø, have been dated to around this same time.


Why 536 was ‘the worst year to be alive'

Ask medieval historian Michael McCormick what year was the worst to be alive, and he's got an answer: "536." Not 1349, when the Black Death wiped out half of Europe. Not 1918, when the flu killed 50 million to 100 million people, mostly young adults. But 536. In Europe, "It was the beginning of one of the worst periods to be alive, if not the worst year," says McCormick, a historian and archaeologist who chairs the Harvard University Initiative for the Science of the Human Past.

A mysterious fog plunged Europe, the Middle East, and parts of Asia into darkness, day and night—for 18 months. "For the sun gave forth its light without brightness, like the moon, during the whole year," wrote Byzantine historian Procopius. Temperatures in the summer of 536 fell 1.5°C to 2.5°C, initiating the coldest decade in the past 2300 years. Snow fell that summer in China; crops failed; people starved. The Irish chronicles record "a failure of bread from the years 536–539." Then, in 541, bubonic plague struck the Roman port of Pelusium, in Egypt. What came to be called the Plague of Justinian spread rapidly, wiping out one-third to one-half of the population of the eastern Roman Empire and hastening its collapse, McCormick says.


https://www.science.org/news/2018/11/why-536-was-worst-year-be-alive

The specific volcanos which erupted in 536 and 540 have not been definitely identified. One may be in Iceland, but the other is possibly in Central America.

Did the TBJ Ilopango eruption cause the AD 536 event?

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/234350073_Did_the_TBJ_Ilopango_eruption_cause_the_AD_536_event

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Response to Klaralven (Reply #10)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 01:22 PM

33. Sorry, but a slight correction:

536 was the second worst year.

The worst was any year during Trumpy's administration.

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 12:23 PM

12. That sure looks like a Swastika in the lower right side of this image

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Response to KewlKat (Reply #12)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 12:30 PM

14. Swastika is an ancient symbol that was appropriated and ruined by the Nazis


The swastika symbol, 卐 (right-facing or clockwise) or 卍 (left-facing, counterclockwise, or sauwastika), is an ancient religious icon in the cultures of Eurasia. It is used as a symbol of divinity and spirituality in Indian religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism.[1][2][3]

In the Western world, it was a symbol of auspiciousness and good luck until the 1930s[4]


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Response to Bernardo de La Paz (Reply #14)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 12:32 PM

16. 👍

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Response to Bernardo de La Paz (Reply #14)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 12:38 PM

18. Thanks for jogging my memory.

I knew prior to Hitler the symbol had good associated with it.

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Response to Bernardo de La Paz (Reply #14)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 12:59 PM

26. It was also used by Native Americans in what is now the US Southwest.

To me, it looks like an indicator of cultural continuity that goes far back into prehistory, and crosses every inhabited continent.

https://www.cabq.gov/artsculture/kimo/history-of-the-kimo/kimo-history/swastikas

From Collector's Guide:

"One of the oldest symbols made by humans, the swastika dates back some 6,000 years to rock and cave paintings. Scholars generally agree it originated in India. With the emergence of the Sanskrit language came the term 'swastika', a combination of 'su', or good, and 'asti', to be; in other words, well-being."

From Wikipedia:

"The swastika was a widely used Native American symbol. It was used by many southwestern tribes, most notably the Navajo. Among different tribes the swastika carried various meanings. To the Hopi it represented the wandering Hopi clans; to the Navajo it represented a whirling log ( tsil no'oli' ), a sacred image representing a legend that was used in healing rituals.

"The history of the swastika goes back to the origins of the Eurasian Continent. The swastika is an important symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism, among others, and was also used in Native American and Jewish faiths prior to World War II. By the early twentieth century it was regarded worldwide as symbol of good luck and auspiciousness."

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Response to KewlKat (Reply #12)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 12:37 PM

17. A potent symbol across the ancient world, still used on Asian maps to designate a Buddhist temple...

The name svastika is Sanskrit, and it occurs in Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism. The earliest found was carved on a mammoth tusk from about 15,000 years ago.

More:
https://www.britannica.com/story/how-the-symbolism-of-the-swastika-was-ruined

I will add that there are certain other ancient religious symbols that can be found from Northern India, across Europe, and up into Ireland. The sacred spiral and the maze are prominent among them.

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Response to Hekate (Reply #17)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 12:45 PM

21. I'm Buddhist and did not know this piece of info ...

Thanks for posting.

"The earliest known use of the swastika symbol—an equilateral cross with arms bent to the right at 90° angles—was discovered carved on a 15,000-year-old ivory figurine of a bird made from mammoth tusk."

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Reply #21)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 12:58 PM

25. It was a factoid that stuck with me, and it came with a picture of an Asian street map...

I think the reason it got written up in a US newspaper or journal was that a recent immigrant group of Buddhists were building a temple in their new location (ie the US) and experienced mutual culture- shock that Americans were appalled at the use of a Swastika, and then the immigrants were appalled when told why. They naturally tried to explain, they naturally wanted to use it as traditionally done….

But the fact is that throughout Europe and America the symbol has been stained past redemption by Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. They were exceedingly good with symbols. In addition, there are neo-nazis and other thugs who use the swastika to this day.

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Response to Hekate (Reply #25)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 01:11 PM

29. "there are neo-nazis and other thugs who use the swastika to this day"

Yes. I am aware of that.

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Reply #29)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 01:29 PM

34. I know you are. It was just my way of saying that we are not going to be allowed to forget Hitler...

…by white nationalists. That the Western history of the symbol can’t be elided.

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Response to Hekate (Reply #17)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 12:49 PM

23. The runes around the edge are very interesting.

I'd like to know if the goldwork was done domestically to this group or if it was imported.

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Response to Hugin (Reply #23)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 01:13 PM

30. As stated in the linked article ...

Some of the items:

"Older artifacts found in the cache include gold coins from the Roman Empire that were converted into jewelry. One depicts Constantine the Great, who ruled between 306 and 337 C.E."

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 12:26 PM

13. Aw, the only thing I ever found with a metal detector was...

another metal detector.

Its user must've been having about the luck I was and buried it.

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Response to Hugin (Reply #13)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 12:46 PM

22. My brother found a lost high school ring

In research via the local high school he was able to return it to the woman who had lost it 10 years earlier.

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Reply #22)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 12:58 PM

24. I was walking across a park one day and I found a class ring...

It had no distinguishing marks on it other than the high school it was from. I don't even remember it having a class.

A friend of a friend had gone to that high school and since I had no need for it, I gave it to her. A while later she coincidentally ran into the guy, who she knew, who had lost it several years before. She returned it to him.

Some things have a way of finding their way back to where they belong.

I bet that woman remembers your brother's efforts to this day!

Good job!


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Response to Hugin (Reply #13)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 01:01 PM

27. LOL!

Was it bent in half?

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Response to lagomorph777 (Reply #27)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 01:10 PM

28. No.

But, at one point it may have had a stake driven through it.

This is exactly the sort of reason I am not an atheist. However, I do question the inordinate amount of time the higher powers spend screwing with me instead of, I don't know... PREVENTING PANDEMICS!

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 12:31 PM

15. Amazing

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 12:44 PM

20. There's incredible workmanship on those pieces. Just awesome. nt

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 01:14 PM

31. Love stuff like this!

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Response to left-of-center2012 (Original post)

Mon Sep 13, 2021, 02:23 PM

35. All that from a hobbie...

...to get off the couch and wife yelling at him.

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