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700-year-old Danish 'Civil War' coins uncovered

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The instability of the era is said to be reflected in the poor quality minting and low silver content of the coins. Photo: Viborg Museum
11:29 CET+01:00
A hoard of 700 year-old coins has been found by a group of metal detectors in a Jutland field being excavated by archaeologists, the Viborg Museum announced on Wednesday.

Coins dating back to a tumultuous period of civil war in Denmark were found in a field south of Foulum and are being put on display at the Viborg Museum.

The museum said that three members of the Central Jutland Detector Society (Midtjysk Detektorforening) discovered the mediaeval coins, which are thought to have been hidden during the first half of the 1300s, a period of internal unrest in Denmark which culminated in a temporary end of royal rule.

The instability of the era is said to be reflected in the poor quality minting and low silver content of the coins.

“The treasure comes from an unstable period, and it is conceivable that the owner wanted to hide them away until better and more stable times. For some unknown reason, he never returned to collect his coins,” Viborg Museum curator Mikkel Kjeldsen said.

The metal detector search was carried out on the field near the town of Foulum during the final stage of a wider excavation of an Iron Age building at the site. But with a 1,000-year age difference between the building and the coins, an explanation of how the treasure came to the area remains clouded by mystery.

“It is not unusual to find civil war coins when we investigate fields near Middle Age towns and villages, but when we find so many collected and hidden together, it really sets your mind at work thinking about who could have put them there, and why,” Morten Nielsen, chairperson of Central Jutland Detector Society and one of the finders of the coins, said.

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The coins will be cleaned and put on display at Viborg Museum next week.


Lasse Winther Nielsen, Per Jensen and Morten Nielsen from Midtjysk Detektorforening display the coins. Photo: Viborg Museum.

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