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