Danish amateur finds 1,100 yr-old Viking cross

A metal detecting enthusiast in Denmark has discovered a 1,100 year old gold crucifix that may be the oldest complete Christian artefact ever found in the country.

Danish amateur finds 1,100 yr-old Viking cross
The cross shows a figure with hands outstretched in a clear depiction of Jesus on the cross. Photo: Ladby Viking Museum
Dennis Fabricius Holm was out prospecting in a field near the town of Aunslev on the Danish island of Fyn on Friday afternoon when his detector began to beep. 
“From the moment I turned over the earth and saw the piece of jewellery, I have not been able to think of anything else,” he told Denmark’s DR broadcaster. 
“It’s weird that my name will now be associated with something that seems to be so important. I don’t think it’s quite seeped in yet.” 
The gold filigreed crucifix, weighing 13.2 grams and 4.1cm in length, is near identical to those found in Stockholm’s Birka cemetery in 1927, and to fragments found at a burial site in Ketting, Denmark in 2012, making it the the third so-called “Birka crucifix”.  
“It is an absolutely sensational discovery that dates from the first half of the 900s,” said Malene Refshauge Beck, an archeologist at the nearby East Fyn museum. 
“In recent years there has been more and more signs that Christianity was widespread earlier than previously thought – and this is the clearest evidence so far.” 
The cross appears to be perhaps 50 years older that the Jelling rune stones, which celebrate the conversion of the Danish king Harald Bluetooth to Christianity. 
While the stones have been dated to 965, the cross has been dated to the first half of the 10th century. 
According to a post on the site of Viking Museum at Ladby, where the new find will be exhibited from the summer, it is not yet possibly to tell whether the woman who wore the jewellery had been a Christian viking, or whether she had worn it “as part of a pagan Viking’s bling-bling”. 

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Divers find 500-year-old Danish beer barrels in Swedish wreck

Divers excavating the wreck of a medieval warship off the coast of Sweden have found barrels they believe may hold traces of 500-year-old Danish beer.

Divers find 500-year-old Danish beer barrels in Swedish wreck
The beer barrels had been branded with the letter 'A'. Photo: Brett Seymour
The Gribshunden, or Griffen, the flagship of King John of Denmark, sank in 1495 off the coast of Ronneby, southeastern Sweden, while on the way for talks with Swedish separatist forces int he city of Kalmar. 
“It's what we would expect but I still think it's quite fun because it gives us an insight to the life on board,” Johan Rönnby, an archeologist from Södertörn University outside Stockholm, told The Local. 
“We haven't taken any samples, so we can't 100 percent say that it is beer, but it is most likely that it would be beer on a ship, as water was not that healthy to drink.” 
The suspected beer barrels are marked with the letter 'A' and fitted with two stoppers on the lid, which would have enabled easy pouring. 
Rönnby's colleague Brendan Foley, a researcher from Lund University, said that the team were currently taking samples from the barrels to determine their contents. 
“We're taking sediment samples now and hoping we're going to find DNA evidence of hops,” he said. 
“What we're doing is getting a look at not just what the men on the ship were drinking but what King John was taking to Kalmar to impress Sten Sture the Elder.” 
Sten Sture the Elder had led Swedish separatist forces to victory against royal unionist forces at the Battle of Brunkeberg in 1471, after which he had become effective ruler of Sweden. 
The excavation of the Gribshunden, which is being part-funded by the Lund-based Crafoord Foundation, involves 40 researchers from 10 countries. 
The researchers announced the discovery with a press release on Friday.