Two medieval buckles were discovered this summer on the southern part of the Swedish island of Gotland. The first one was spotted by an 8-year-old boy.
Bruno Tillema was vacationing with his family when he came across an object that turned out to be an animal head-shaped bronze buckle dated to the Viking Age (800-1100 AD). He explains, “When I was walking by the path, I just picked it up from the ground and thought, what is this? Maybe some weird part from a house? I went looking for fossils and had the fossil eyes on. Then mother came and asked what I had in my hand. Then I said, some strange metal thing.”
The family contacted the county administration, which was able to quickly go out and look at the find site. “The family handled the find in an exemplary manner. They contacted us immediately so that we could quickly do an initial check on the spot,” says Therese Lindström, cultural environment manager at the County Administrative Board in Gotland County.
Gotland’s museum has during the week carried out an archaeological investigation at the find site to find out if there are more objects nearby. During the investigation, another suit buckle was found, this time a so-called ring buckle.
“Both buckles are made of bronze and belong to costumes from the late Iron Age or early Viking Age,” Lindström notes. “Buckles designed as animal heads are usually associated with Gotland women’s graves, while ring buckles are found in both men’s and women’s graves.”
The grave itself has probably been damaged on an earlier occasion. It is not uncommon for objects from damaged graves to come to the surface in connection with plowing the land.
Both buckles will now be sent off for preservation, and will later be displayed at a museum. Bruno will also be compensated for his discovery.