Many individuals dream of discovering buried treasure, however only a few folks truly do. For one man in central Norway that dream turned a actuality simply earlier than Christmas final yr, when he took his metallic detector for a stroll in a area close to his dwelling and unearthed a hoard of silver fragments from the Viking Age.
At first, Pawel Bednarski wasn’t positive of the worth of the fragments he’d discovered buried below simply a few inches of soil. There have been a pair of rings, what seemed like chopped-up Arabic cash and fragments of a silver bracelet, amongst different items. However when he reached out to native historians and archaeologists, the reality turned clear: This was a major discover.
“It has been a few years since such a big Viking treasure was present in Norway,” Birgit Maixner (opens in new tab), an archaeologist at Norway’s College of Science and Expertise (NTNU) in Trondheim, stated in a assertion (opens in new tab).
The silver fragments date again round 1,100 years to the eighth and ninth centuries — through the Viking Age, which lasted for about 200 years between the ninth and eleventh centuries. The fragmentation of the objects means that these items weren’t simply private belongings however had been additionally used as cash. Vikings operated below a so-called bullion economic system somewhat than a bartering economic system, which signifies that somewhat than buying and selling good-for-good, similar to a sheep for a cow, they traded items of valuable metals at set weights for items. Minted cash weren’t generally utilized in Norway till the late ninth century.
The burden system “was in use within the transition between the barter economic system and the coin economic system,” Maixner stated.
The 46 silver fragments weigh 1.5 ounces (42 grams), or in regards to the weight of a golf ball. Maixner stated that based mostly on what we now perceive of the Vikings’ worth system, the silver was price a bit greater than half a cow — fairly worthwhile for a time when proudly owning 5 cows was about common for a medium-size farm.
Whereas the silver fragments might have as soon as been utilized by Vikings, Maixner is not positive how the treasures ended up in Norway. The Arabic cash, which was the principle supply of silver in Scandinavia through the Viking Age, are older than what’s often present in Norway. Archaeologists often discover Arabic cash from the ninth and tenth centuries in Norse treasure, however these cash are from the eighth century. And the silver bracelet appears to be like extra like jewellery that is sometimes present in Denmark.
“The truth that this individual had entry to a complete broad banded bracelet, which was primarily a Danish merchandise, would possibly counsel that the proprietor had been to Denmark earlier than touring to this space in mid-Norway,” Maixner stated.
As for why or how the treasure ended up within the area, nobody can say, Maixner stated. Maybe the proprietor was stashing it to retrieve later, or was leaving it as an providing to the gods.