The Context of Gold
by Kristen Nedergaard Dreiøe
Now the crops had grown too high for us to sweep our DEUS dectectors. We had to close down the search, leaving the corn to be the guardians over what was possibly remaining in the ground. A month later in mid-July 2016 the Viking bracelets were hastily exhibited at the local museum before their final destination at the National Museum.
In just two weeks, the exhibition had received a month’s worth of visitors, the atmosphere was electric. It was silly season, and the news about the gold bracelets quickly spread around the globe, and for a while distracted us from pursuing the next steps in our journey…. unearthing more evidence of significant Viking presence in the area.
The corn crops were due to be harvested at the end of October, and an extensive excavation of the finds spot was expected to take place a month or so later. There was plenty of months to grow impatient, which left us time to assist the museum and broaden our knowledge. We decided to make identical written agreements with the twelve major landowners surrounding the “gold field” to ensure a good and long-lasting support for our activities and secure future research for the museum.This was truly citizen science in practice. While waiting for the combine harvesters to do their job we swept the surrounding fields with our XP’s. We were now using GPS tracking to improve our detecting efficiency: Marie red tracks, Poul green tracks and me blue tracks. This method made it easy to see missing area’s and review our different detecting styles.
I became very annoyed with my Garmin e-trex as it quickly ran the battery down. So I tested it against my smart phone GPS apps, but had to conclude they did not outsmart my Garmin device (if Glonass satellites were activated). I also tried out different XP DEUS programs, especially Gary Blackwell’s Hot Program and this later proved itself as a good choice. We covered a lot of non-productive ground over the following months. It was only when we got close to the goldfield we started to discover Viking silver and bronze. These items appeared to be fragments of coins and buckles. We thought we had narrowed down the picture pretty well, until one day Marie found a gold nugget (remains from a goldsmith’s work), this was found nearly one kilometre away. That was mind-blowing. Had she found the workshop where the goldsmith was making the Viking kings jewellery? Suddenly, our original thoughts that the gold bracelets may have been royal gifts to a loyal Viking jarl was now challenged by an even wilder idea, maybe the bracelets were actually produced here. Maybe the find spot was far more important than we had originally thought?
While these thoughts were puzzling us, we were disturbed by a sweet sound. Finally, the heavy machinery started rolling into the field …At last it was harvest time! Based on the location of our finds the museum marked an area of approx. 40×20 metres as a no-go zone, this was going to be the excavation site when the archaeologists were ready to move in (around December). But we were still permitted to search the fields around the site. Our spirits were high but the finds were low during the first few days. Then on the 30th of October I was
using Gary’s HOT program when I made an amazing discovery just outside the excavation zone. I was detecting alone, as I started to unearth a target I noticed a glint of Yellow…. suddenly a gold object emerged from the ground, only this time it was a small piece, but breathtakingly beautifully crafted. It was a Thor’s hammer, it was the missing pendant. (See article 1) . This would now link the gold finds to Viking King Gorm the Old and with him to the first half of the 9th century. He was the last king still faithful to the Norse gods. I was paralysed with dis belief. I had to switch off my machine and return home to share this find with my team.
We had endless dreams about finding the missing pendant, and this is what we hoped to find when we started our quest in spring 2016. Now it was laying in my hand. Not only had it lead us to the 6 Viking gold bracelets, it also confirmed the location of the excavation site was very significant. We were convinced more treasure was going to emerge from the ground when the shovels would be replaced by serious hydraulic excavators. However, we now had to wait another 5 weeks.