An amateur metal detectorist has recently discovered a large collection of Iron Age gold artifacts in Denmark.
The Vejlemuseere museum released a press release stating that the finds uncovered by the metal detectorist, Ole Ginnerup Schytz, can be traced back to 1500 years ago. The gold which approximately weighs one kilogram (2.2 pounds) was found near the central Danish town of Jelling.
The recent finds have been greater than any other previously unveiled gold treasures in Denmark, reports CNN.
The head of research at Vejlemuseere, Mads Ravn, told CNN that he had almost fallen out of his chair when Schytz shared photos of the treasure, asking if it had any significant value.
Schytz had been using his metal detector only for a few hours on his friend's land when he uncovered the hoard.
"I told him he might as well just sell the detector now because he already peaked," said Ravn, "It doesn't get better."
Archaeologists from the Vejlemuseerne discovered "huge medallions the size of saucers" upon further inspection at the site.
Since the artifacts were buried in a longhouse by an Iron Age chieftain, it can be assumed that Vindele was most likely a center of power in that period of time, stated the museum.
The unusual thickness of the medallions and the size of the find suggest that whoever buried the hoard would have been incredibly wealthy and powerful, revealed Ravn.
"I've never seen anything like it," he said.
Ravn believes that, back in the sixth century, the chieftain attracted skilled artisans and buried his gold as an offering to the gods.
Some experts believe that the gold could have been buried during a time of war, however, Ranv believes that due to the size and combination of the gold, it is most likely an offering.
The treasure included saucer-sized decorated medallions, also known as bracteates, and roman coins which were later fashioned into jewelry.
One of the bracteates is decorated with a male head and a number of runes, as well as a horse and a bird. A runic inscription on the horse reads "the high one," according to preliminary research, which could refer to the chieftain or the god Odin, says CNN.
Approximately 300 years before the ancient sagas were written down, Norse mythology was developing and would have been in competition with more ancient religions, said Ravn.
One of the heavy Roman gold coins can be dated back to the rule of Constantine the Great (324-337 AD) and implies that Europe has been well connected during the Iron Age.
The Roman coins show how mobile people were at the time, said Ravn, with people from northern Europe moving south to plunder or serving as mercenaries in Roman armies before bringing the coins back home.
"There weren't these borders, so people were moving around," said Ravn.
The climate during that time had been catastrophic due to the ash cloud from a large volcanic eruption in Iceland which took place in 536 AD, followed by many years of famine.
"It was a very chaotic period in some ways," Ravn said.
Similar to this recent discovery, gold treasures have also been found on the island of Hjarno. History suggests that some of the largest gold hoards in Scandinavia were buried during this time.
Ravn went on to explain how this implies that there could have been an alliance between the rulers of the two areas, and possibly the initial stages of Denmarks as a united kingdom.
The hoard will go on display at the Vejlemuseerne in February 2022 as part of a large Viking exhibition.
"It's kind of a pre-chapter to the Viking age," said Ravn. "We already have the echo of the early Viking age coming along in that time."