The unexpected discovery of a rare 11th-century gold earring buried in a field in West Jutland, Denmark may help shed light on whether the Vikings acquired intricate jewelry during their legendary travels.
According to archaeologists from the Museum of Denmark, the found earring was one of 12 ancient jewelry of a similar design and this is the first jewelry found in Scandinavia.
“There are only 10 to 12 pieces of this style worldwide, all in old museum collections in the US, UK or Arab countries,” said the archaeologist and inspector at the National Museum of Denmark. The artifact found in the middle of the field was “very interesting” given that there were no known Viking sites in the area.
The earring was found by a treasure hunter using a metal detector and handed over to museum workers.
It is known that the Vikings, reputed to be legendary sailors, carried thousands of silver coins during their travels, which, judging by historical and archaeological finds, they used for trade.
However, the rare jewelry found among Viking artifacts over the years was “very rare,” said Peter Pentz, explaining that the earring could have been a gift from an Egyptian ruler to a Viking leader.
A similar piece of jewelry known as the Dagmar Cross, strikingly reminiscent in style of a gold earring discovered in 1683, has helped trace the origin of earrings to Egypt.