He wanted to be an archaeologist since he was a little boy. Things turned out differently for the Norwegian Erlend Bore, 51, but his fascination with the remnants of early history never left him. When his doctor advised him to walk more for the sake of his health, Bore bought a metal detector. This enabled him to combine exercise in the fresh air with the search for exciting artifacts in the Norwegian soil. And it was worth it.

The 51-year-old was traveling in the area around the Norwegian city of Stavanger when his device sounded the alarm. Erlend Bore looked – and was initially confused as to what he had found. “At first I thought they were chocolate coins, or plastic coins like from a pirate’s chest,” he said, according to the New York Post. He carefully removed nine gold medallions and several gold beads from the muddy earth. They had probably once made an opulent necklace.

The Norwegian did the right thing and immediately contacted archaeologists who professionally examined the site – and also examined the gold pieces. According to initial assumptions, this is jewelry from the fifth century AD – so the find is more than 1,500 years old.

Archaeologist Ole Madsen from the University of Stavanger was enthusiastic about the discovery. “This is the gold find of the century,” he said happily. “To find so much gold at once is extremely unusual.” The scientists suspect that the precious medallion was once hidden at the site by its original owners or was deliberately sacrificed there as part of a religious ceremony. In both cases, a difficult situation may have caused the valuable jewelry to be disposed of. The archaeologists speak of possibly “dramatic times”.

There are not many finds from the 5th century in Scandinavia and in Europe in general that tell of people’s everyday lives. The current find is therefore even more important for science. The abstract symbols on the gold coins are intended to show a legendary horse from Norwegian mythology, which also provides valuable insights into people’s religious beliefs. The find was also valuable for Erlend Bore and the farmer on whose land the treasure was discovered: both received a reward from the Norwegian state. However, the amount of this is not publicly disclosed – and Bore’s searches were never about money anyway.

Sources:   “New York Post”,  “Guardian”