Amateur-found Hoard Linked to King Bluetooth

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April 16, 2018

A chance discovery by a pair of amateur archaeologists could be associated with Denmark's famed King Harald Bluetooth, experts said.

Bluetooth hoard
The pair, 13-year-old Luca Malaschnitschenko and René Schön, were using metal detectors to scan a field on the Baltic Sea island of Rügen in January when they found a silver coin. Taking their find to experts resulted in a team dig of 4,300 square feet, and among the trove found buried were brooches, coins, braided necklaces, rings, and a Thor's hammer.

The field is in Schaprode, a German municipality in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, which is also known as Mecklenburg-West Pomerania. Malaschnitschenko and Schön are part of an amateur treasure-seeking group there. Not far from Schaprode is the island of Hiddensee, site of a 19th-Century discovery of a hoard of gold from the reign of Bluetooth, whose real name was Harald Gormsson, also known as Harald Blåtand.

King Harald Bluetooth

The Danish hero played a large part in unifying Denmark and supplanting the Norse religion with Christianity. He reigned over what is now Denmark, northern Germany, southern Sweden, and parts of Norway for nearly 30 years. After losing a battle in a rebellion led by his son, Sven Forkbeard, in the 980s, Bluetooth fled to Pomerania, which is now in north Germany. He died there in 987. His accomplishments are inscribed on one of the famed 10th-Century Jelling stones, in the Danish town of the same name.

The Schaprode find includes 600 coins; experts say that more than 100 of those came from Bluetooth's Denmark. The oldest coin dates to 714, the latest to 983.

The find echoed a 2016 discovery of a Viking toolbox at Borgring, a ring-shaped fortress on Zealand, which is thought to have been at the direction of Bluetooth.

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