Saturday, April 18, 2009

Archaeology post!

Treasure trove found on Funen!

"Ancient Islamic coins and silver jewellery were discovered in one of the biggest finds of its kind on Funen by a local man with a metal detector.

An amateur archaeologist hit the jackpot when he discovered a hidden cache of buried silver in a rural field on Funen earlier this year.

Odense City Museums has since taken advantage of the recent stretch of fine weather over the past few days to further unearth the unique and valuable Viking-age find.

So far, archaeologists have found 41 silver coins, a silver bracelet and half of a highly decorative Thor’s hammer. Most of the coins originate from the ancient Islamic times of the caliphs, while some are from the area covered by present-day Russia.
The bracelet and hammer are thought to be Scandinavian in design.

The find lay undiscovered in the field near Ringe for more than 1,000 years and museum curator Jesper Hansen said that is the biggest coin find of its kind on Funen.

Odense City Museums indicated that the foreign coins are ‘yet another sign of the vast connections and trading relations, which were an integral part of Scandinavia during the Viking age’.

It is likely that the treasure finder, Benny Pennerup, will receive a finder’s fee from the National Museum."



  1. Sverre and I spent a great day learning about the Vikings at one of the University of Oslo museums. It's so fascinating to learn how the Vikings weren't just a bunch of crazy barbarians with bad hygiene but a complex society with influences throughout the "ancient" world.

  2. That is very exciting. I wish it had been me that had found them. I would keep them in an old sock under my bed and never ever share them, LOL.

  3. I met a rather random Danish man who was so depressed about being Danish. He said that he missed the good ol' Viking days when Danes when out and took part in the world. "Those Danes, they mattered," he told me. Blamed the defeat by the British in the Napoleonic wars for Danish narrow-mindedness. No, he didn't blame the British, he blamed the Danes for giving up and deciding that if they couldn't win one stinking battle they shouldn't be fighting anymore.

    He's got a point, Denmark went bankrupt and the country has never been the same since. A thousand years of conquest and colonialism ended in bankruptcy and Bismarck's bitch slap.

    Of course, the conquerers went off and settled in the colonies, leaving the farmers and herdsmen, who didn't particularly want to go anywhere, at home. I like to tease my husband that he's (in)bred to stay put and I was bred to travel.

  4. Anonymous2:21 PM

    Goddess, if you know where that pot os silver is...take it and RUN! No more digging earth for you then ;)

  5. Anonymous2:32 PM

    P.S- you have been blogrolled. I love your blog.

  6. Anonymous6:18 AM

    I read a book on the history of religion a couple of years back sadly it left out any paganism/indigenous European trads. and stuck to the mainstream, but it was still very interesting particularly how much religious cross pollination was based along the trade routes.

  7. Adrian7:19 PM

    It is interesting that you seem quite positive with regard to the Vikings. Perhaps we should revaluate similar groups in modern society e.g. Motorcycle gangs. Let's see:
    They are very devoted to crude artistic decoration (which in due course will be admired by an educated audience); they are prolific and industrious entrepreneurs who don't let their activities be limited by mercy or petty consideration and they promote international connections by bringing women from eastern Europe and southeast Asia to Scandinavia as the Vikings brought Irish and Scottish women to Iceland.

    Joking apart I will continue to make some dubious generalizations: The natural state of mind for Danes is to be carefree (or happy when asked) but in their foreign policy they tend to pendulate between improvidence and timidness (depending on preceding good luck or misfortune)
    E.g. ignoring the Dutch allies discontent with the Sound Dues leading to Dutch support of Sweden and loss of the Scanian Provinces; underestimating the British disapproval of their enemies flying the Dannebrog as a flag of convenience which lead to the British attack on Copenhagen; and the elected politicians lacking sense of power play which lead to the bloody end of the alliance with Slesvig-Holsten (not loss - they were lost already that was what the politicians failed to realise).

  8. @ Adrian: you've never lived until you've been yelled at by a Dane for thinking the Vikings were rampaging barbarians, burning and raping their way through northern europe. What I gathered between the spittle is that they were peaceful farmers too. Museums in these parts seem to really stress the farming. Maybe someday the motorcycle gangs will advertise their stellar volunteer services (eh?). Anyway, I happen to be rather fond of violent rampaging hoards, most of my work stems from the destruction they leave in their wake (although nothing beats a sudden natural disaster!) and bless those fleeing and then dying farmers who buried their hoards of coins for me to later find and record. You may have thought it was unfair at the time to be slaughtered mercilessly because some great unwashed brute wanted your sheep, but it was totally worth it - I now have a paper to give about the circulation of bronze coinage in the late antique period. Thanks dead farmer dude! Thanks!

  9. Adrian9:32 PM

    Sorry, there was no offense meant. I guess I am biased from childhood. Contrary to my father I was not very fond of sports which once made him accuse me of being a sissy. To which a friend of the family (as it happens, an archaeologist who spent more than 10 years in Mongolia, India and Nepal) said: "Det skal du ikke være ked af. Når de raske drenge har smadret verdenen er det tøsedrengene der bygger den op igen." (Don't worry. When the tough guys have destroyed the world it is the sissies who rebuild it).

    You are certainly right about the richest findings being results of catastrophes. Too bad the inhabitants of Herculaneum and Pompei could not comfort themselves with their contribution to the World Heritage.

    As for my analogy to motorcycle gangs I should perhaps rather have chosen another example. In Norwegian Wikipedia's very elaborated entry Viking it says:
    "Mangelen på statsmakt, kirke og politi førte til at den eneste trygghet og sikkerhet en person kunne sikre seg var den en fikk gjennom sin ættetilhørighet. I så måte minnet vikingtidens samfunnsstruktur mer om dagens Somalia enn nåtidens Norden".
    (Due to lack of central authorities it was only the family who could ensure a person safety and security so Viking society resembled more present-day Somalia than today's Scandinavia).

    By the way, you say: "Museums in these parts seem to really stress the farming." I wonder if the Vikings really did the job themselve or used thralls for it. Apparently about 10% of the English population were still slaves in 1086 according to Domesday Book.

  10. @ Adrian: No worries! I also sucked at sports and I'm sure that if my home was invaded by barbarian hoards, I'm pretty sure my response would be screaming and running about, waving my hands ineffectually.

    Strangely, I'm one of the few archaeologists I know who don't want to be cremated and hopes that my body is excavated in a few hundred years by curious archaeologists.


Keep it clean, don't be mean....