While adhering to his doctor's suggestion of outdoor exercise, a Norwegian individual, Erlend Bore, discovered vintage sixth-century gold adornments using his freshly purchased gold detector. This find is regarded by archaeologists as Norway's "golden discovery of the century".
The treasure trove contained nine lustrous gold medallions and gold beads that previously constituted a magnificent necklace, in addition to three gold rings. These precious objects, with a combined weight exceeding 100g, were determined to originate from around AD500.
"Initially, I imagined them to be chocolate coins or tokens from Captain Sabertooth," shared Erlend Bore, 51, referencing a popular Norwegian fictitious pirate. "It was absolutely surreal."
Archaeologists emphasize the unique nature of this find due to the imprinted design on the medallions: a specific horse from Norse mythology.
The medallions showcase a horse image from Norse mythology.
Bore, who harbored childhood dreams of becoming an archaeologist, made this remarkable discovery in August on Rennesøy island, near Stavanger, following the purchase of a gold detector as part of his doctor's advice to pursue more physical activity.
About to call it a day after an exhaustive search, his gold detector started buzzing unexpectedly on a hillside terrain. Upon this intriguing development, he contacted archaeologists who then took over the inspection.
According to Ole Madsen, the head of the University of Stavanger's Museum of Archaeology, this is "the golden discovery of the century in Norway. Stumbling upon such quantity of gold at once is extraordinarily rare."
Håkon Reiersen, an associate professor at the museum, stated that the gold pendants, referred to as bracteates - flat, thin, single-sided gold medals - originate from Norway's migration period, estimated between AD400 and about AD550, a time famous for extensive migrations throughout Europe.
"Considering the location of the find and data from past similar discoveries, this could potentially be a stash of hidden treasures or a tribute to the gods during tumultuous times," he said.
The pendants and gold beads once formed part of "an ostentatious necklace" crafted by expert jewelers and worn by high-ranking members within society, added Reiersen. He further underscored that "such a discovery hasn't been made in Norway since the 19th century, and it is also an anomalistic find within the Scandinavian context."
Professor Sigmund Oehrl, a colleague at the Stavanger Museum, noted that symbols on the pendants commonly depict the Norse deity Odin healing his son's sick horse. On the Rennesøy versions uncovered by the gold detector, the horse's tongue droops on the gold pendants, and "its slumped frame and twisted limbs signify an injury", added Oehrl.
"The horse symbol signifies ailment and hardship, but also represents the hopeful vision of recovery and rejuvenation", he further elaborated.
Is it legal to use a gold detector in Norway?
As stipulated by Norwegian law, a reward is to be paid to Bore and the landowner, with the exact amount yet to be established. Objects predating 1537, and coins older than 1650, are classified as state property and are mandated to be submitted.