Two men with metal detectors struck it big over the weekend when their find in southern Zealand (Denmark) led archaeologists to 130 Viking silver coins.
This is a considerable hoard of coins from the era when the Vikings dominated Northern Europe, from about 800 CE to 1066 CE. It represents a massive quantity of wealth at the time. The discovery stands as an invaluable contribution to the historical and archaeological record of the Viking civilization.
Window Into the Past
After their metal detectors revealed the potential location of buried metals in a field near Kalvehave Church, the men enlisted the aid of the professionals to handle what promised to be a large-scale find of coins. Further digging in the field may actually yield more coins in addition to the 130 recovered so far.
Given how recently this discovery occurred, there are a number of details about the story that have yet to be released to the press. After undergoing a type of inquest process to determine if the silver coins are indeed treasure, it is believed that the finders will be compensated for the value of the coins’ silver weight. This is a nice consolation, though a far cry from the historical and cultural value of the coins.
Being of Viking origin, the silver coins come from Germany, the Netherlands, and primarily England. These lands were all explored, conquered, or traded with by the Vikings at different points in time.
Therefore, the coins can tell us more about Viking culture than initially meets the eye. They are records—relics—of the commerce and international trade routes in use during the Viking period. Moreover, the coins’ foreign origin is noteworthy as part of a massive trend explained in the image below.
The hoard of coins will be exhibited at Vordingborg Museum at a yet undetermined time in the future. Conservators must still process and do their best to preserve the artifacts before they are displayed.
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