The three archaeologists, who call themselves Team Rainbow Power, found seven bracelets from the Viking Age in a field in Vejen Municipality in Jutland. The bracelets, six gold and one silver, date to around the year 900.
With a combined weight of around 900 grammes, the find is the largest ever discovery of Viking gold in Denmark.
Team Rainbow Power member Marie Aagaard Larsen said that she had only been on the field for around ten minutes before striking gold – literally.
“We really felt like we had found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow when we found the first bracelet, but when others then appeared it was almost unreal,” she said in a National Museum of Denmark press release.
The three discoverers were Poul Nørgaard Pedersen, Marie Aagaard Larsen and Kristen Dreiøe. Photo: Jørn Larsen
After finding the first three rings, the amateur archaeologists called in professional back-up in the form of Lars Grundvad from Sønderskov Museum, who said he was blown away by the discovery.
“At the museum, we had talked about how interesting it could be to check out the area with metal detectors because there was a 67-gramme gold chain found there back in 1911. But I would have never in my wildest fantasies believed that amateur archaeologists could uncover seven bracelets from the Viking Age,” Grundvad said, adding that the chain found over a century ago was likely part of the same treasure trove.
Two of the newly-founded bracelets were made in the so-called Jelling style that is associated with the elite members of society during the Viking Age. Peter Pentz, a Viking expert at the National Museum, said the bracelets could have been used by a Viking leader to form alliances or to reward his faithful followers.
Two of the bracelets were in the Jelling style. Photo: Poul Nørgaard Pedersen
“Just finding one of these bracelets would have been major so it is very special to find seven,” Pentz said.
He said archaeologists may explore the site further to try to discover why the valuables ended up where they did.
“The treasure could have been buried in some sort of ritual at some point in the 900s. But it could have also been that the treasure was buried because someone wanted to take care of it but then was never able to retrieve it again for whatever reason,” he said.
Sønderskov Museum plans to display the find before it is sent to the National Museum in Copenhagen for further study.
The sixth of the seven bracelets found. Photo: Poul Nørgaard Pedersen