A young metal detectorist exploring a Danish cornfield has hit upon the find of a lifetime – a hoard of nearly 300 silver coins from the Viking era. 

The site near Hobro in northern Jutland was where Danish ruler Harald Bluetooth built one of his fortresses, Fyrkat.

The girl will be rewarded for her discovery, which is due to go on display at the Aalborg Historical Museum in July.

According to the coins’ inscriptions, the treasure, buried in two spots a few meters apart, dates back to the 980s.

The sign of the cross

The coins are of Danish, Arabic, and German origin, with jewelry originating from Scotland or Ireland. 

Experts are particularly interested in the Danish ones featuring the sign of a cross, indicating attempts by Harald to Christianize the Danes. 

The discovered coins, pictured while they were still partially in the ground. Photo: Nordjyske Museer

As outlined in the recent book, King Harold’s Cross Coinage (available to buy on Amazon, here) by Jens Chrisian Moesgaard, he was the first ruler to introduce coinage to Denmark.

Fyrkat is thought to have been burned down around the same time, when Harald was both driving the Germans out of Denmark, and facing a rebellion from his son, Sweyn Forkbeard. 

It could be that the stronghold fell victim to these battles. Harald himself succumbed around 985-986.

The hoard may have been part of a burial ceremony during the conflict. 

Further excavation is due to take place later this autumn, after the harvest season, although archaeologists hope to gain further knowledge about the fortress rather than find more silverware.

We’ll keep you posted on further developments!

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On-site work involved further work with a metal detector. Photo: Nordjyske Museer

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