Seek but do not destroy

I had been searching a very large field for a couple of months– I had could just feel this area had great potential of turning up something good. Nearby there are a couple of burial mounds and the surrounding areas looked interesting with some nice ridges and beautiful views of the local fjord, so there had been some kind of activity there for a long time – so far I hadn’t found anything of historical significance, only some silver-coins from 1704 and later, and the standard mountain of buttons etc.

It was a beautiful cold day in early March the sun was shining and the temperature was the hottest I had seen in a long time, if I recall it was a staggering 5 degrees or something, so I decided that today was the day I should concentrate my search to the far end of the field where there sat a beautiful ridge, I hadn’t searched that end of the field before. It was a couple of hours of detecting before I reached my destination, on the way to the location I got no great signals, however on top of the ridge I got a faint signal – with just the right tone – no numbers on the target-id. I used the Sifter program, as that seems to work perfectly on these ground-conditions. I dug down a little but couldn’t see any target, I picked up the Deus and swung over the hole again, the previous faint-signal became crystal clear and the vdi was absolutely stable. About 15-20 cm down I found the first green fragment – wow…just the right green color – by this time my focus was just above 100%. I continued to dig a little more, and more green fragment started to show. As impossible as it sounds, my focus was now above full capacity. As I continued to dig more green particles started to appear.

assembly two lars fragmentsI used the XP Deus again and it went ballistic, my faint signal was now a massive signal, so I thought I should probably dig a bit more careful now. As I was at a depth of 30-40 cm I could see something slightly curved, I had to widen the hole so that I could see more of the target. As I removed more dirt out of the side of the hole and carefully dug to the depth of the target, I could see what looked like a complete circle – I had absolutely no idea what I was looking at, but I now knew it could be something very special, so after some careful scraping, and a taking GPS coordinates, I took the decision that I should not continue. I took several pictures and carefully filled in the hole again. We had some nights with temperatures below zero so I thought it was probably not a good idea to allow the target to be exposed to the elements. I marked the area with some stones so that I could easily find it again.

Still pretty excited and just thinking about what it could be that I found I headed back to my car. I detected all the way back but I probably would have walked right past each and every target, I don’t remember digging one signal on the way back. When I got home I contacted the museum and sent them the pictures, they responded very quickly and said that it looked very interesting, and it had the right color to be really old. They asked if I was available in a couple of days, as they wanted to take a look at it– You bet I was, how exciting!

The next day I went back to the field again to lay down some better marking so it was easy to find, I wouldn’t want to waste the museums time wandering around. That was a good choice, it is not very easy to find a pile of dirt and small stones on a plowed field. After a bit of searching I found it, this time I had a marking pole with me.

Christian from the museum arrived on Monday, and we walked right up to the spot, I was so glad I had been in the field and marked the point, it was freezing cold and the wind was blowing right in our faces – sometimes we were gifted with a little snow, so we definitely didn’t need to wander about searching. We very carefully re-dug the hole and as we approached the more small fragments appeared. Christian immediately decided that we needed to pick this up in one block of earth as it looked pretty intact, and he couldn’t tell what it was. His first thought was that my assumption on it being a bronze-vessel/pot could be correct. We covered the hole with some protecting bubble-wrap over the target, and over that carefully placed a tarpaulin that was covered with some dirt to protect it from the freezing weather.

A week later we returned to the field with an excavator and a lot of anticipation. The weather now was much better and some hours later we had excavated a big hole, probably 10 meters in diameter:

assembly three lars fragmentsThere was a lot of remains of old pillars scattered around the hole, also a lot of ceramics/pottery. I gathered so much information from Christian he told me a lot about the Danish bronze-age / iron-age based on local finds. After using his high-precision-GPS on all the targets it was time to take out the main-target. We dug down the sides of and with the pinpointer we found what we thought was the bottom of the original hole – we dug down at least 10 cm more and prepared to take it out by wrapping it in a lot of plastic-wrap.

After loosening the block and taking it out of the hole so it could be better protected we realized that it would be a heavy challenge to bring it back to the car – but with a lot of rests on the way we managed to get the block to the car safely – we wrapped up for the day and the excavator refilled our big hole again.

Sometime later Christian sent me an email telling me that they had x-rayed the block and the result was something very different to what they expected, they had researched on what it was as it wasn’t something they immediately recognized, he told me it was “Vulstringe” – a very rare kind of ankle-ring (yes…big BIG rings used on ankles), very few of them have ever found in Denmark.

I immediately googled the term, but that wasn’t very helpful – google didn’t really know much about “Vulstringe” at that time – but luckily Christian had some literature he mailed me so that I could get to know a bit more about this find. The museum was very excited about the find, and the conservators thought they could see some remains of organic material – so all in all it was a very significant find, previous finds of these rings here in Denmark have primarily been made during peat-digging in bogs a long time ago, so there’s no real information about these finds, the most recent find was 15 years ago with an excavator. So to find 2 almost intact rings with organic material in-place – that was sensational!

assembly four lars fragments

The rings have been dated to about 500-700 BC, so at least 2500 years old! The museum wanted to make a couple of public events where conservators where live-cleaning up the block of earth – WOW! A fantastic find, the whole event just went exactly to plan…above fantastic!

They were fantastic events and I think everybody learned a lot about the bronze-age and ankle rings. It was extremely exciting when the first ring showed nice ornaments!
Just a note, the entire block has been turned upside down, so it Is being excavated from the bottom up, so the ring seen on the pictures is the bottom-ring. The top-ring is not 100% intact, but almost, the conservators are confident they can put the fragments back together using the items that I first found, and the others that had become loose when the plow had just scrapped the top of it.

assembly one lars fragments

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