Viking gold and oath rings Part 2 & 3

Part II : The context of gold

Now the crops had grown too high for us to sweep our Deus dectectors. We had to close down the search, leaving the corn to be the guardians over what was possibly remaining in the ground. A month later in mid-July 2016 the Viking bracelets were hastily exhibited at the local museum before their final destination at the National Museum.

Lars GrundvadLars Grundvad our archaeologist in front of the museum

In just two weeks, the exhibition had received a month’s worth of visitors, the atmosphere was electric. It was silly season, and the news about the gold bracelets quickly spread around the globe, and for a while distracted us from pursuing the next steps in our journey…. unearthing more evidence of significant Viking presence in the area.

The corn crops were due to be harvested at the end of October, and an extensive excavation of the finds spot was expected to take place a month or so later. There was plenty of months to grow impatient, which left us time to assist the museum and broaden our knowledge. We decided to make identical written agreements with the twelve major landowners surrounding the “gold field” to ensure a good and long-lasting support for our activities and secure future research for the museum.This was truly citizen science in practice. While waiting for the combine harvesters to do their job we swept the surrounding fields with our XP’s. We were now using GPS tracking to improve our detecting efficiency: Marie red tracks, Poul green tracks and me blue tracks. This method made it easy to see missing area’s and review our different detecting styles.

Tracs examples Our tracks

I became very annoyed with my Garmin e-trex as it quickly ran the battery down. So I tested it against my smart phone GPS apps, but had to conclude they did not outsmart my Garmin device (if Glonass satellites were activated). I also tried out different XP DEUS programs, especially Gary Blackwell’s Hot Program and this later proved itself as a good choice. We covered a lot of non-productive ground over the following months. It was only when we got close to the goldfield we started to discover Viking silver and bronze. These items appeared to be fragments of coins and buckles. We thought we had narrowed down the picture pretty well, until one day Marie found a gold nugget (remains from a goldsmith’s work), this was found nearly one kilometre away. That was mind-blowing. Had she found the workshop where the goldsmith was making the Viking kings jewellery? Suddenly, our original thoughts that the gold bracelets may have been royal gifts to a loyal Viking jarl was now challenged by an even wilder idea, maybe the bracelets were actually produced here. Maybe the find spot was far more important than we had originally thought?

Marie with her gold nugget - credit Kristen DreioeMarie with her gold nugget

While these thoughts were puzzling us, we were disturbed by a sweet sound. Finally, the heavy machinery started rolling into the field …At last it was harvest time! Based on the location of our finds the museum marked an area of approx. 40×20 metres as a no-go zone, this was going to be the excavation site when the archaeologists were ready to move in (around December). But we were still permitted to search the fields around the site. Our spirits were high but the finds were low during the first few days. Then on the 30th of October I was using Gary’s HOT program when I made an amazing discovery just outside the excavation zone. I was detecting alone, as I started to unearth a target I noticed a glint of Yellow…. suddenly a gold object emerged from the ground, only this time it was a small piece, but breathtakingly beautifully crafted. It was a Thor’s hammer, it was the missing pendant. (See article 1) . This would now link the gold finds to Viking King Gorm the Old and with him to the first half of the 9th century. He was the last king still faithful to the Norse gods. I was paralysed with dis belief. I had to switch off my machine and return home to share this find with my team.

Gold pendant - credit Nick SchaadtThe Gold Pendant

We had endless dreams about finding the missing pendant, and this is what we hoped to find when we started our quest in spring 2016. Now it was laying in my hand. Not only had it lead us to the 6 Viking gold bracelets, it also confirmed the location of the excavation site was very significant. We were convinced more treasure was going to emerge from the ground when the shovels would be replaced by serious hydraulic excavators. However, we now had to wait another 5 weeks…

PART III: The sound of Gold, by Kristen Nedergaard Dreiøe

“Be there in time, you are going to work hard, we have three intense days ahead of us”. Lars Grundvad the archaeologist said.

I remember thinking how could we be late for something so important! We arrived on-site well before 8 o’clock on the 5th of December 2016. The first sunrays broke through the horizon illuminating the path towards the Gold field west of the landowners parking area. The air was fresh and clear, it certainly was a beautiful morning. My heart was already hammering in excited anticipation… I had no idea what was possibly going to unfold during the days ahead. I could see Marie and Poul were in the same emotional state.

Team Rainbow Power – Yes it was a little awkward name for three grown-ups. But again, the six gold bracelets we found during summer I guess had already justified that name.

As we approached the remote field we could see the contour of a huge excavator and a restless man pacing around. It was a short wait until Lars and his team of archaeologists arrived with the same nervous anxiety. What was ahead of us, were days of euphoria just about to begin?

Waiting-for-the-archaeologists-the-first-day---Photo-Kristen

Lars gave order to begin the excavation, the diesel engine gasped into life and the dig got underway. The gigantic shovel pulled off the first 2-inch layer which was to be the first of many. We had a hard time holding back,  we were so eager to get our XP’s to the soil. An archaeologist came running over with safety helmets saying “Please wear these the press are coming”. With the excavator at a safe distance Lars loosened our leashes and our XP’s pulled us into the finds area with great determination. In my mind, I switched on deep concentration mode and on my Deus I used a modified GM Power program.The ground was, what can only be described as “cooperative” – with very little noise. I lowered the ground balance, increased sensitivity and started sweeping across the new surface. Zing!! “39” – I knew I had to dig that. I recognized the tone. It was the sound of gold!

When we found the bracelets earlier on in the year, people were asking me what does gold sound like, what was the number on the conductivity scale? I did not know. I was too stunned to recognize any of those things at the time. So, when I found the hammer pendant I noted “39-40” on the scale and measured the sound coming from the full tone setting. It was around 195-6 Hz. That is equivalent to the G note of the third octave. G for gold. Out of the moist black soil an extraordinary beautifully crafted gold pendant with a pearl emerged. When I showed it to Marie, she shouted out in exaltation, “We have gold, we have gold”. And that phrase was going to be repeated again and again and again over the following days. We were all in a collective flow of euphoria. When I say all of us, I mean all of us, not just Team Rainbow Power, but the archaeologists, the excavator driver, all the journalists and TV crews, the increasing number of locals, friends and family coming to witness the moments, and the drone pilot that was continuously manoeuvring the buzzing vehicle over our heads.

Marie-with-Pendant---Rock-crystal-in-gold-casing---Photo---Steen-Rasmussen

It was sheer happiness, we could share the emotional impact of unearthing these incredibly beautiful pieces of Viking jewellery with all those around us. In July, for some odd reason we never found gold when all three of us were together. We were completely unprepared for the physical and mental impact at the time. The euphoric feeling of uncovering such important items struck you like lightning, but we wanted to experience this as a group.

Gold-cuts-offs-for-payment---Photo-Poul-F

Now we could share this feeling all together, as a group all three of us could turn back time with our magic XP DEUS wands and connect with the incredibly skilled goldsmith who possibly worked for the first Viking kings of Denmark.

During the dig we uncovered Pearls, pendants, bars, bracelets, broken pieces of necklaces, and last but not least the spectacular slightly domed round Brooch with four long gold chains and triangular pendants attached, very like the Hiddensee treasure in Germany. The Brooch also marked the centre of the treasure deposit, and proved the accuracy of site location. The live broadcast from the field was in total contrast to the first finds last summer.

Domed-fibula-with-chains-pearls-and-pendants---Photo-TVSYD

We were embraced by the team of very skilled archaeologists, and thank them for their efforts and skills, to not only secure the Viking treasure but also to discover traces of Viking settlements. We felt honoured to be a part of their team, and enjoyed talking to their colleagues from the National Museum who came to inspect the site.

Gold-bracelet---Photo---Kristen-Dreiøe

On the third day, as the weather started to change, the number of finds were decreasing, the silent rain started to cool the site down. We moved to the piles of excavated muddy soil to search for last remaining treasure pieces before covering up the excavation site. Once again, the light weight XP DEUS demonstrated its value as a versatile tool and could be easily worked over difficult terrain. Crawling around the mud piles was exhausting, using the wireless search coil detached from the middle stem made the job much easier.

Team-Rainbow-Power-together-with-Lars-the-archaeologist---Photo-Museet-på-Soenderskov

At the end of the day were exhausted, the searching was over and our job was done. As we were travelling back sitting on the open trailer behind the landowner’s tractor the field behind faded away in the greying daylight. The trailer was full of happy, grateful people, who all knew that this experience would never be repeated and will remain in our hearts for the rest of our lives.

Facts about the Viking treasure:

– 230 pieces of jewellery and coins
– Silver: +100 gr.
– Gold: 1,4 kg (22 carat), of which
– 1 Gold necklace (62 gr.), found in 1911
– 7 Gold bracelets (80-250 gr)
– 9 Gold pearls
– 5 Gold pendants of semiprecious stones (like agate, amethyst, rock crystal) in Gold granulate and filigree casing, 1 casing without stone
– 4 Gold pendants with granulate and filigree ornamentation
– 3 large fragments of Gold bars
– 1 large chunk of a thick Gold necklace
– 7 chunks of different Gold bracelets
– 1 beautiful fibula in Gold, slightly domed, with three pearls and four gold chains attached, all of them with triangular Gold pendants at the end. All with rich granulate and filigree ornamentation.
– 3 fragments of less identifiable origin.

Treasure-overview---Nick-Schaadt

assembe_partIII

Want to get email Updates? Just subscribe here: http://eepurl.com/Wnyrj

Pictures by: Nick Schaadt / Michael Kirkeby Pedersen / Kristen Nedergaard Dreioe