Unique Golden Treasure Found In Denmark – One Of The Richest Treasures In Danish History!

Margie Jones
05/09/2023

One of the largest, richest and most beautiful gold treasures in Danish history has just been found at Vindelev, just outside Jelling. The enormous find of almost 1 kg of gold, i.a. consisting of huge medallions the size of saucers, has again seen the light of day, after 1500 years in the Danish soil.

Ole Ginnerup Schytz had just acquired a metal detector, and was allowed to walk on the ground with his old classmate. After a few hours, he found what is qualitatively one of the greatest gold finds in Danish history. The site has now been excavated by the Archaeologists of the Vejlemuseerne, in collaboration with the National Museum’s experts and with funds from the Palaces and Culture Agency.

Archaeologists now know that the treasure was buried in a longhouse in a village about 1,500 years ago. The studies, and the many samples and data collected, will provide invaluable knowledge about the connections and circumstances that led to the tax being abolished by a great man, at that time in the Iron Age.

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The Great Man In Vindelev

The discovery of the enormous amount of gold shows that the site has been a center of power, in the late Iron Age.

“Only one member of society’s absolute top has been able to collect a treasure like the one found here” , explains Vejlemuseernes research director Mads Ravn, and continues:

“Although the place name Vindelev can be linked to the time of migration, there was nothing that could make us predict that an unprecedented warlord or great man lived here, long before the kingdom of Denmark arose in the following centuries.”

Here, just under 8 km from the Jelling, which in the 900s became Denmark’s cradle, there was already a great man in the 500s who managed to create wealth and attract skilled artisans. For as yet unknown reasons, he chose to close down this large gold find in the early 500s.

Maybe to save it in case of war, or maybe as a victim of higher powers.

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Mythological Motifs And A Roman Emperor

The Vindelev treasure consists of saucer-sized, beautifully decorated medallions, so-called bracteates. There are also Roman coins made into jewelry. They occur in a technique and a combination that has never before been seen comparable examples of why the finding of experts is described as completely unique in quality.

Some of the objects have motifs and runic inscriptions that may refer to the rulers of the time, but which also, according to some of the researchers who have so far had the opportunity to examine the treasure, lead the mind to Nordic mythology.

One of the finds is a bracteate that has a male head with a braid and a number of runes on it. Under the head is seen a horse and in front of a bird with which the man communicates. There is a runic inscription between the horse’s muzzle and forelegs, which according to the preliminary interpretations says ‘houaʀ’; ‘the High’ .

‘The High’ may refer to the ruler who abolished the find, but is also in later mythological contexts associated with the god Odin.

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There are also much older coins from the Roman Empire. Most notably a heavy gold coin from the Roman emperor Constantine the Great (285-337 AD). Constantine legalized Christianity among the Romans in 313 AD, a few hundred years before the coin that bears his face found rest in under a Jutlandic longhouse, 2,000 km north.

The fascinating journey of gold tells us about a European continent that was already in the Iron Age closely connected by trade and war.

A Chaotic Time

Many of Scandinavia’s largest gold finds date from the middle of the 5th century, when the ash cloud from a large volcanic eruption in the year 536 AD, created a global climate catastrophe with many years of misgrowth and famine.

Preliminary dates suggest that this treasure was also abolished at this chaotic time in world history. A couple of years ago, the archaeologists of the Vejlemuseers excavated another gold treasure from the period on the small island of Hjarnø in Horsens fjord.

According to many researchers, the climate catastrophe in 536 caused the inhabitants of what was then Denmark today to reject the old rulers and lay down lots of gold during this very period. Maybe to save it from enemies, or maybe to appease the gods.

Some believe that the foundation of the Viking Age society, and a united Danish kingdom, lies in this period.

More than 40 kg of gold from these very centuries in the Iron Age have been found. But the size, quantity and technical details of the objects in the treasure now found at Vindelev are completely unique, placing the find in the absolute top.

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Exhibited Already Next Year

In less than half a year, the Vindelev treasure will be seen as part of the Vejlemuseerne’s large Viking exhibition, which opens on 3 February 2022.

The exhibition tells the story of Harald Blåtand’s eastern connections, and of the early kingdom formation that created the foundation for the Jelling dynasty.

The Viking exhibition is made in collaboration with Moesgaard Museum, which also has an exhibition that tells about other aspects of the Vikings’ travels to the east.

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