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1,000 year old silver treasure hoard discovered in Denmark

Over 550 silver items have been discovered on the Danish island of Omø. The hoard is believed to date from around the reign of Sweyn Forkbeard (986–1014) and includes coins and pieces of jewellery.

Coins discovered on the Danish island of Omø - photo courtesy Museum Vestsjælland

Coins discovered on the Danish island of Omø – Photo: Tobias Bondesson / Museum Vestsjællandd

The discovery was made by Robert Hemming Poulsen, an amateur archaeologist. He was on the island working to lay fibre optic cables when a local farmer mentioned having found as a boy a twisted silver ring in his fields. Poulsen agreed to check out the field with his metal detecting equipment and soon discovered some coins and silver items.

Local authorities were called in, and on October 24-25 Poulsen returned to the site with three more metal detectorists to make a thorough search. During that weekend they found hundreds of more items, including rare coins dating back between the years 975-980, which were minted by King Harald Bluetooth. Other coins that were discovered come from further afield, including England, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic and even Arabic dirhams.

A coin from King Harald Bluetooth, about 975 to 980". Photographed just as it came out of the earth. Photo: Tobias Bondesson / Museum Vestsjælland

A coin from King Harald Bluetooth, about 975 to 980″. Photographed just as it came out of the earth. Photo: Tobias Bondesson / Museum Vestsjælland

Also found were small pieces of silver jewellery – parts of bracelets and rings. No evidence was found that the a building once existed where the treasure was discovered, and it is believed that centuries of farming had probably disturbed the items.

The treasure is now on display at Museum Vestsjælland. Curator Hugo Hvid Sørensen explained to the Copenhagen Post that “A treasure like this is found once every 10-15 years. It contains many items and is extremely well kept because it has been buried in sandy earth.”

Robert Hemming Poulsen at the site of his discovery. Photo courtesy Museum Vestsjælland

Robert Hemming Poulsen at the site of his discovery. Photo courtesy Museum Vestsjælland

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