A Norwegian hobbyist, Erlend Bore, made an unexpected discovery while exploring the southern island of Rennesoey with his newly purchased metal detector. Initially mistaking his find for buried chocolate coins, Bore was astonished to uncover an assortment of ancient jewelry, including nine pendants, three rings, and 10 gold pearls, estimated to be around 1,500 years old.
Bore, a 51-year-old who took up metal detecting as a pastime on his doctor’s advice, made the rare find during the summer. The discovery was deemed highly unusual by Ole Madsen, the director at the Archaeological Museum at the University of Stavanger, due to the significant amount of gold found at once.
Bore’s exploration of the island in August initially led him to some scrap. However, he later stumbled upon the treasure, which weighed slightly over 3.5 oz. As per Norwegian law, any objects dating back to before 1537, and coins older than 1650, are deemed state property and must be turned over.
Associate professor Håkon Reiersen from the museum identified the gold pendants as bracteates, dating back to the Migration Period in Norway, around A.D. 500. This period, lasting from 400 to about 550, was characterized by extensive migrations throughout Europe. The pendants and gold pearls were likely components of a lavish necklace, crafted by expert jewelers and worn by the elite of society. Reiersen highlighted the rarity of such a find, with no similar discovery having been made in Norway since the 19th century.
Sigmund Oehrl, a professor at the same museum and an expert on bracteates, noted that approximately 1,000 golden bracteates have been discovered in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. The pendants typically feature symbols of the Norse god Odin healing his son’s sick horse. The Rennesoey pendants depict an injured horse, symbolizing both illness and distress, but also the hope for recovery and rejuvenation.
The museum plans to exhibit the find in Stavanger, located about 200 miles southwest of Oslo.