A Norwegian out strolling on doctors’ orders discovered rare 6th-century gold jewelry using a newly purchased metal detector, archaeologists said on Thursday, calling it Norway’s “gold find of the century.”
“At first I thought it was chocolate coins or Captain Sabertooth coins,” said 51-year-old Erlend Bore, referring to a fictional Norwegian pirate.
“It was totally unreal.”
Nine Norwegian gold medallions and gold pearls that formerly formed an elegant necklace, as well as three gold rings, were among the items in the cache.
The artwork on the medallions – a species of horse from Norse mythology — makes the find distinctive, according to archaeologists.
Bore, who aspired to be an archaeologist as a child, made the discovery in August on a farmer’s field near Stavanger after purchasing a metal detector on his doctor’s advice to get more exercise.
He’d been hunting all day and was about to return home when the device began beeping on a hillside.
He called archaeologists, who took over the search.
The jewels, which weigh a little more than 100 grammes, were discovered to date from around 500 AD.
“It’s the gold find of the century in Norway,” said Ole Madsen, the head of the University of Stavanger’s Museum of Archaeology.
“To find that much gold all at once is extremely unusual.”
The most recent comparable find in Norway dates back to the 19th century.
“Given the location of the discovery and what we know from other similar finds, this is probably a matter of either hidden valuables or an offering to the gods during dramatic times,” professor Hakon Reiersen said.
In line with Norwegian law, both Bore and the landowner will receive a reward although the sum has not yet been determined.