Jørgen Strande only started metal detecting in 2019, but when he hit upon rare Viking treasure this October, it made headlines worldwide, including Newsweek.

Now this father-to-be, who followed the protocol perfectly in contacting the authorities at the Innlandet County office upon his discovery, talks to The Viking Herald about "screaming with joy" at his find – and the thrill of what he calls "the best hobby in the world." 

The Viking Herald: Please tell us how long you have been metal detecting and what attracted you to start this hobby.

Jørgen Strande: I'm a huge fan of the show Time Team – when I was a kid, I used to watch it with my grandmother, and that's when I started getting interested in archeology and finding out about ancient history.

But I didn't get a chance to buy a metal detector until 2019 after I saw some videos on YouTube and really wanted to start taking this hobby seriously. 

In Innlandet County and just 1.5 hours from Oslo, the village of Bøverbru became the site of an extraordinary find when a metal detectorist discovered Viking silver on one of its farms. Photo: Øyvind Holmstad / Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

TVH: Please tell us about the area you were searching, why you were looking there, and if you had been there before.

JS: I go out metal detecting in the area where I was born and raised. It's a little place called Bøverbru in Innlandet County, around 1.5 hours from Oslo.

I had been looking at this farm for many years now but didn't get permission to search there before this summer, so I spent almost every day at the farm before winter came. I knew the farm was old because they found a Viking sword and a shield in a grave there in the early 1900s.

There are a lot of other graves in the area, so I was sure I would find some nice objects here, but I didn't imagine I would ever find a silver bracelet. 

TVH: When did you realize that you had found something special?

JS: I knew right away because it looked like silver, so the first thing I did was send a message with a picture to my good friend Espen Lundgjerdingen Mossevik, who helped me with identifying the object.

Just to be sure, I sent an image to our County Archeologist, Lars Pilø, who also confirmed it.

(Based in Innlandet, Lars Pilø leads the Secrets of the Ice team, pioneers in glacial archeology – see our interview with him about his other work in the field.) 

Upon discovering the Viking silver, the metal detectorist immediately documented the find's location with GPS coordinates and carefully secured the artifact for further examination. Photo: Jørgen Strande

TVH: What was the feeling when you first saw the object?

JS: The first thing I saw was the silver shining in the hole. I carefully dug around it and lifted it up, turning it around to see the top with all the little designs on it.

I knew right away that I had something special in my hands. I just sat on the ground, looking at it and screaming with joy, and called my friend Sindre Hetvik Olsen, who was detecting with me.

When he came, I did a silly little dance I do when I find something special [laughs]. It was the last object of the season, so it felt really good. I didn't mind that it was snowing and it was really cold.

TVH: What did you do next? 

JS: The next thing I did was to take the GPS coordinates from where I found it, and I carefully searched around the area. Sadly, nothing else beeped.

I then placed it in a plastic bag, took down all the info, and went home a happy detectorist.

When I came home, I emailed the County Archeologist to let May-Tove Smiseth know what I had found. I told her the name of the farm, the GPS coordinates, the date, etc., so hopefully, I can get a finder's fee.

I'm actually more interested in recovering history in my hometown than the finder's fee, but it's the law, so I will always do what is asked of me. 

The Viking silver item discovered by the metal detectorist is known to weigh 15 grams, suggesting its use in trade or as a form of payment during the Viking era. Photo: Jørgen Strande

TVH: Can you tell us more about the object now that it has been analyzed more closely? 

JS: I don't have much information about it because I still have it. I will deliver all my finds after Christmas and hopefully get the details after the museum has looked at it, but that can take up to three years.

But all I can say is the information I got from Lars Pilø is that we think it's silver meant for payment as it weighs 15 grams and it's broken up. If it had been broken by farming, it would not weigh exactly 15 grams.

Hopefully, when we get back to the farm next year, we can see if there are more objects like this around. Maybe it's part of some buried treasure, which would be a dream come true.

TVH: Do you have plans to continue metal detecting? 

JS: Yes, I will never give up this hobby. I love it, and I really enjoy finding out about ancient history that can help us understand those who lived in our area thousands of years ago.

You never know what will crop up in the hole where you're digging. It can be a rusty nail or a treasure from the Viking Age. This is the best hobby in the world!

We are expecting our first child due in March next year, so the next time I'm out in the field, I will probably have the new generation of archeologists with me! 

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