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HomeARCHEOLOGYAncient Gold Unearthed by Norwegian Metal Detectorist: The Astonishing 6th Century Treasure

Ancient Gold Unearthed by Norwegian Metal Detectorist: The Astonishing 6th Century Treasure

Erlend Bore, a 51-year-old Norwegian metal detectorist, has made an extraordinary discovery that has been celebrated as “Norway’s most significant gold find in a century.” While exploring the island of Rennesøy, situated near the enchanting city of Stavanger, Erlend stumbled upon a veritable treasure trove of exquisite gold jewelry.

The serendipitous unearthing has captured the imagination of both historians and treasure enthusiasts alike. The discovery serves as a profound testament to the island’s rich historical tapestry and the enduring allure of hidden treasures waiting to be revealed.

Erlend’s remarkable find offers a poignant glimpse into the past, shedding light on the lives and customs of those who inhabited the region during ancient times. The meticulously crafted gold jewelry, believed to date back to the 6th century, showcases the exceptional skill and artistry of bygone civilizations.

As news of this astonishing discovery spreads, experts are eagerly examining the artifacts, seeking to unravel the mysteries they hold. Each intricately designed piece provides a captivating link to a forgotten era, sparking questions about the cultural significance and origin of the treasure.

Erlend Bore’s extraordinary find not only underscores the importance of preserving and investigating our heritage but also ignites the imagination, reminding us that beneath our feet lie untold stories waiting to be discovered. This remarkable event serves as a testament to the enduring allure of archaeology and the profound impact that a single person’s curiosity can have on unraveling the secrets of our past.

Norwegian metal detectorist discovers gold treasure dating back to the 6th century
The jewelry collection. Credit: Ereland Bore

Erlend Bore’s astounding find encompasses an array of captivating artifacts that offer a captivating glimpse into the past. Among the treasure trove are nine gold pendants, adorned with rare horse symbols, which were highly revered during the 6th century CE. In addition, the discovery includes three intricately designed gold rings and ten exquisite gold pearls, each carrying its own story.

The meticulous craftsmanship exhibited in these ancient treasures is a testament to the skill and artistry of the jewelers of that era. Weighing just over 100 grams, the gold pieces exhibit a striking resemblance to coins, but they are known as “bracteates.” These bracteates held significant cultural and ornamental value, often worn as symbols of prestige and beauty.

It is a remarkable twist of fate that led Erlend Bore to this astonishing discovery. Motivated by a doctor’s recommendation to stay active, Mr. Bore had recently acquired a metal detector. With the kind permission of the landowner, he embarked on an exploration of the island, unaware of the extraordinary treasures that lay hidden beneath the surface.

The unearthing of this treasure offers a unique opportunity for historians and archaeologists to gain insights into the customs, beliefs, and artistic expressions of the people who inhabited the region during that time. As experts meticulously study these artifacts, a narrative begins to unfold, shedding light on the cultural significance and historical context surrounding the jewelry.

Norwegian metal detectorist discovers gold treasure dating back to the 6th century
Credit: Erlend Bore

What distinguishes this remarkable discovery is the presence of a captivating horse motif on the medallions, a design rarely encountered in similar archaeological finds. In Norse mythology, these symbols often depict Odin, the revered god, tending to his son’s horse, representing themes of rejuvenation and rebirth. Such imagery was believed to bring protection and good health to those who adorned themselves with such jewelry.

However, in this particular collection, the focus lies solely on the horse itself, portrayed with its tongue hanging out and displaying signs of injury. This depiction signifies not only illness and distress but also carries the profound symbolism of hope for healing and new life, reminiscent of the Christian cross and its association with redemption.

These extraordinary gold bracteates, originating from the Migration Period (AD 400-550), hold immense historical and cultural significance. Archaeologists and historians have hailed this discovery as a milestone, with Ole Madsen, Director of the Museum of Archaeology at the University of Stavanger, describing it as “Norway’s most significant gold find of the century.”

Håkon Reiersen, an associate professor at the Museum of Archaeology, speculates that this treasure might have been concealed during a period of crisis. The era was marked by challenges such as crop failures, adverse climate conditions, and outbreaks of plagues, which likely prompted individuals to safeguard their most valuable possessions, including this precious collection of gold jewelry.

The presence of these unique symbols and the historical context in which they were discovered add another layer of intrigue to Erlend Bore’s find. It invites us to delve deeper into the narrative of the past and unravel the stories of those who lived during a time of uncertainty and sought solace and protection in the intricate craftsmanship of these extraordinary artifacts.

Norwegian metal detectorist discovers gold treasure dating back to the 6th century

In accordance with Norwegian legislation, both Mr. Bore and the landowner will be entitled to receive a finder’s fee for their remarkable discovery. The specific amount of the fee will be determined by the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage. It is worth noting that objects predating 1537 and coins dating prior to 1650 are considered state property and must be reported to the authorities.

Marianne Enoksen, the Head of the Cultural Heritage Department in Rogaland County Municipality, underscores the significance of such discoveries as an integral part of our shared cultural heritage. This find provides a valuable opportunity to deepen our understanding of the past and connect with the legacies of our ancestors.

Dagfinn Skre, a Professor of archaeology at the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo, commends the exceptional nature of this discovery. The consistent depiction of the horse motif on all nine bracteates sets it apart from other finds, highlighting its uniqueness and archaeological importance. This remarkable collection adds a new chapter to our understanding of the artistic expressions and cultural symbolism of the time period.

The recognition and support from experts and cultural heritage authorities underscore the significance of Erlend Bore’s find, not only in terms of its historical value but also in preserving and studying our shared heritage for future generations to appreciate.

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