In Norway, a Family Found Viking-Era Decorations on Their Property
In Norway, a family on the island of Jomfruland was searching for a lost gold earring, but stumbled upon artefacts from the Viking era, over 1,000 years old in their yard.
The Vestfold and Telemark County Cultural Heritage Council reported this discovery.
Jan Erik Aasvik was using a metal detector to find his mother's lost gold earring when the device suddenly started beeping much louder than before, indicating a large metallic object buried underground.
"I grabbed a shovel and began digging. I probably didn't go deeper than 20-30 centimetres. I didn't understand what it was, but it looked old. I'm a member of a group of people who use metal detectors, so I posted a photo there. I am a novice, but there are many in the group with more experience than me," says Aasvik.
Experts believe that beneath a large tree in the Aasvik family's garden lies the grave of a woman. Archaeologists suggest that a buckle found at the site dates back to between 780 and 850 AD.
Aasvik's posts about his findings caught the attention of archaeologist Vibeke Lia. She travelled to Jomfruland and confirmed that these were artefacts from the early Viking era.
"One item is a classic find from that time – a bowl-shaped buckle used to hold a woman's costume dress. It is well-preserved and serves as a type of pin," says Lia. "The second item is a round buckle, which was probably made in the Danish town of Ribe between 780 and 850 AD, at the beginning of the Viking era."
These items are likely part of a burial, as it was customary during that period to inter the deceased with their valuables, reflecting their status.
"In the past, burials were a way to signify power and status. A burial site symbolized ownership of the landscape, property rights, and resources. We don't know if there was a settlement associated with this place, but people often buried their dead near roads or houses," explains Lia.
She expressed gratitude to Aasvik for stopping his excavation once he realized that he might have found something of archaeological significance and promptly contacted the authorities.
Despite the possibility of more treasures hidden beneath the surface, excavations cannot be conducted on this site due to legal protections in place. Consequently, researchers intend to utilize alternative research methods to uncover the island's secrets.
The discovered artefacts are currently temporarily housed at the Vestfold and Telemark County Municipality offices, but they will soon be sent to the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo. According to archaeologists, these items need to be preserved, thoroughly examined, identified, and dated.