Boy, 13, un­earths leg­endary Dan­ish king’s trove in Ger­many

The National - News - - NEWS WORLD -

A 13-year-old boy and an am­a­teur ar­chae­ol­o­gist have un­earthed a sig­nif­i­cant trea­sure trove in Ger­many that may have be­longed to the leg­endary Dan­ish king Har­ald Blue­tooth, who brought Chris­tian­ity to Den­mark and whose name was given to the widely used wire­less con­nec­tiv­ity tech­nol­ogy.

Rene Schoen and his stu­dent Luca Mal as chn its chenko were look­ing for trea­sure us­ing metal de­tec­tors in Jan­uary on the north­ern is­land of Rue­gen when they chanced upon what they ini­tially thought was a worth­less piece of alu­minium.

Upon closer in­spec­tion, they re­alised it was a piece of sil­ver.

A 400-square-me­tre dig that was started at the week­end by the re­gional ar­chae­ol­ogy ser­vice has un­cov­ered a trove be­lieved to be linked to the Dan­ish king, a mem­ber of the Jelling dy­nasty, who reigned from about 958 to 986.

Braided neck­laces, pearls, brooches, a Thor’s ham­mer, rings and 600 coins were found, in­clud­ing more than 100 that date from Blue­tooth’s era.

“This trove is the big­gest sin­gle dis­cov­ery of Blue­tooth coins in the south­ern Baltic Sea re­gion and is there­fore of great sig­nif­i­cance,” said Michael Schirren, the lead ar­chae­ol­o­gist.

The old­est coin found in the trove is a Da­m­as­cus dirham dat­ing to 714 while the most re­cent is a penny dat­ing to 983.

The find sug­gests that the trea­sure may have been buried in the late 980s – also the pe­riod when Blue­tooth was known to have fled to Pomera­nia, where he died in 987.

“We have here the rare case of a dis­cov­ery that ap­pears to cor­rob­o­rate his­tor­i­cal sources,” said the ar­chae­ol­o­gist Detlef Jantzen.

Blue­tooth is cred­ited with uni­fy­ing Den­mark – and giv­ing the pair tech­nol­ogy its name. The Vik­ing-born king also turned his back on old Norse re­li­gion and in­tro­duced Chris­tian­ity to the Nordic coun­try.

Brian Patrick McGuire, pro­fes­sor emer­i­tus at Roskilde Univer­sity in Den­mark, said the find had pro­vided a key source of in­for­ma­tion for re­searchers who had very lit­tle writ­ten ma­te­rial cov­er­ing this trou­bled pe­riod.

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