Man who needed an ‘active’ hobby finds ancient gold stash

A Norwegian man, initially believing his metal detector had located buried chocolate coins, instead unearthed a cache of ancient jewelry. The trove, consisting of nine pendants, three rings, and 10 gold pearls, is believed to be approximately 1,500 years old. The discovery was made by 51-year-old Erlend Bore on the southern island of Rennesoey, near Stavanger, during the summer.

Bore, who had purchased his first metal detector earlier this year as a new hobby following his doctor’s advice to be more active, was astounded by his find. Ole Madsen, the director at the Archaeological Museum at the University of Stavanger, expressed that such a significant gold find at once is highly unusual.

In August, Bore began exploring the mountainous island with his metal detector. Initially, he found some scrap, but later he discovered something extraordinary – the treasure weighing just over 3.5 oz. According to Norwegian law, objects predating 1537, and coins older than 1650, are considered state property and must be surrendered.

Håkon Reiersen, an associate professor at the museum, stated that the gold pendants, known as bracteates, date back to around A.D. 500, a period known as the Migration Period in Norway. This era, which spanned from 400 to about 550, was marked by widespread migrations across Europe. The pendants and gold pearls were likely part of an ostentatious necklace, crafted by skilled jewelers and worn by the most influential individuals in society. Reiersen noted that a similar discovery hasn’t been made in Norway since the 19th century, making it a rare find even in a Scandinavian context.

Sigmund Oehrl, a professor and expert on such pendants at the same museum, mentioned that about 1,000 golden bracteates have been found in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. The symbols on the pendants typically depict the Norse god Odin healing his son’s sick horse. On the Rennesoey pendants, the horse appears injured, symbolizing illness and distress, but also hope for healing and renewal.

The plan is to display the find at the Archaeological Museum in Stavanger, located about 200 miles southwest of Oslo.