With the rapid pace of scientific and technological advancement today, it appears that scarcely a week passes without the discovery of a new archeological treasure unearthed from the depths of history. 

Thanks to science and technology, the earth seems to be revealing its hidden secrets at a faster pace than ever. Now is the perfect time to start the exciting and educational hobby of Viking treasure hunting.

Throughout the past century, there have been multiple occasions of amateurs discovering Viking-era artifacts and treasures, either by design or accident, with the most famous example even filmed live on Swedish television

So, for all you budding Indiana Joneses out there, sometimes the hardest part is the very first step: how exactly do you get into searching and scouring for hidden Viking treasure? 

Well, first and foremost, you need to be living somewhere where people from Viking societies lived, fought, or settled. 

If you don't live in any region that was once part of the Viking cultural orbit – spanning from the British Isles to the areas surrounding the Black and Baltic Seas, from Scandinavia to Spain, and even the shores of Canada – then hop on a bus, plane, or, failing that, a longship, and make your way there. 

After booking your ticket to a known Viking location, you'll have plenty of time to pass while flying, driving, walking, or sailing there.

This gives you ample opportunity to brush up on the location's history during the Viking Age. Familiarize yourself with Viking history, culture, and settlements. 

Understanding where Vikings lived and traveled can help you identify potential treasure-hunting locations. 

Did the location house a Viking settlement or trading post? Did Vikings take part in a glorious battle, raid, or military adventure there? 

These are the sorts of questions that a study of local history can help you answer to ascertain whether the location has glittering (archeological) gold to seek. 

It is important to read and analyze things like old maps, archeological reports, or historical texts before digging begins. 

Discovered in 1999 by a metal detector on the Swedish island of Gotland, The Spillings Hoard stands as the largest (by weight) Viking horde ever found, boasting a staggering collection of silver weighing nearly 67 kilograms or 147 pounds. Photo: W.carter (CC BY-SA 4.0) 

Preparation, equipment, and training 

After brushing up on the history of the local area and noting where people from Viking societies either lived, traded, or fought, you'll also want to refine your treasure-hunting techniques.

You'll need to learn about the tricks and techniques for using the myriad tools associated with treasure hunting, from simple shovels to elaborate and expensive metal detectors. 

Equip yourself properly, and despite the eyewatering price of some equipment, you only really need to make a small initial investment to start the treasure hunt. 

Check local historical societies or museums or, failing that, even YouTube to get some proper training on treasure hunting. 

Also, consider taking courses or workshops, in person or online, to learn best practices and techniques when searching for treasure and undergoing amateur archeology. 

Of course, you'll then need to abide by local laws, rules, and regulations and obtain the necessary permits to undertake your search to unearth the buried secrets of the Viking Age. 

Essentially, prepare yourself the best way you can by being knowledgeable about the location you intend to search – its history, terrain, and contemporary rules or laws. Preparation is key! 

As the popularity of metal detecting grows, an increasing number of diverse groups, including young individuals, women, and families, are engaging in this activity, drawn by the opportunity to explore the outdoors, connect with cultural heritage, and engage in physical exercise. Photo: Vasilii Aleksandrov / Shutterstock 

Be an ethical tomb raider 

Luckily for us history lovers in the 21st century, we live in an enlightened era. Should you be lucky enough to search for Viking treasure, remember to show respect. 

The earth you are scouring for treasures is a snapshot of those who lived before us. Always follow ethical and legal guidelines when hunting for hidden Viking treasure. 

Respect archeological sites, obtain the necessary permission from landowners or local authorities, and if you're lucky enough to strike archeological gold, please report it to the relevant authorities. 

Remember, you are not the only lover of all things Viking; there is a whole world (and online community) out there, too! 

The acquisition, purchase, sale, or export of cultural or historical artifacts – which essentially covers everything that could be considered "Viking treasure" – is highly regulated throughout the world. 

Undertaking any of this and not following the letter of the law is illegal and could result in serious fines, prosecution by authorities, or even jail time! 

It is also worth remembering that when digging around sites of previous human activity, you may very well come across human remains. 

If this occurs, contact the relevant authorities immediately and remember that these remains, though they may appear as mere fragments of blood and bone, were once living human beings and deserve to be treated with respect, whatever their fate. 

Discovered last year in Setesdal, Southern Norway, the unearthing of a Viking sword by Oddbjørn Holum Heiland during routine gardening activities has sparked genuine astonishment. Photo: Joakim Wintervoll

Stay safe and patient 

Should you be conducting your search in Northern Europe, especially the Nordic countries, remember that old saying – there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes! 

Hunting for Viking treasure can involve heavy physical activity and risks like uneven terrain, (very) inclement weather, or even encountering dangerous materials – Viking swords were particularly sharp, don't you know! 

Safety first is the key, so wrap up, wear appropriate clothing or safety equipment, and tell others what your plans are. 

In the opinion of all of us here working at The Viking Herald – good things in life don't come easy. Whilst you may be exceptionally fortunate and unearth a long-lost Viking ship on your first hunt, chances are, you won't. 

Hunting for Viking artifacts can be a time-consuming and challenging hobby. 

Be prepared for numerous setbacks – perhaps your equipment breaks, local authorities take years to process the necessary permits, or a car park is constructed in your search area (not ideal for Viking exploration but great for uncovering long-lost English kings). 

Don't lose heart; persevere, and who knows what you may discover lurking beneath the ground. 

For more information and guidance on metal detecting laws in various countries, visit DetectHistory's blog section.

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