A 13-year-old boy and another amateur archaeologist have uncovered a “significant” trove of 1000-year-old coins, rings and bracelets linked to a Viking king.
The hoard of jewellery and money, discovered on the German island of Ruegen in the Baltic Sea, is believed to have belonged to Danish king Harald Gormsson, best known as Harald Bluetooth.
“This trove is the biggest single discovery of Bluetooth coins in the southern Baltic Sea region and is therefore of great significance,” lead archaeologist Michael Schirren told national news agency DPA.
In January, teenager Luca Malaschnitschenko and René Schoen found a silver coin in a field near the village of Schaprode.
They had been using metal detectors to hunt for treasure.
The pair, who belong to a group of enthusiasts looking after historical sites in northern Germany, thought they had dug up a chunk of aluminium.
When they washed their find, they realised it was a piece of silver, according to local media.
The state archaeology office became involved and the amateur archeologists were asked to keep the find a secret until professionals could plan the major dig.
The entire treasure was uncovered by experts last weekend, the Mecklenburg-West Pomerania state archaeology office said.
Malaschnitschenko and Schoen were invited to participate in the recovery.
The 400 square metre dig has so far yielded braided necklaces, pearls, brooches, a Thor’s hammer, rings and up to 600 chipped coins.
More than 100 of the coins have Christian crosses on them and are believed to have been minted in the kingdom of Bluetooth.
The site of the treasure trove, Schaprode, is near where a 16-piece gold hoard dating from Bluetooth’s reign was found in the 19th century.
The oldest coin in the trove is a Damascus dirham dating to 714 while the most recent is a Frankish Otto-Adelheid penny minted in 983.
The find suggests that the treasure may have been buried in the 980s, the same time Harald fled Denmark after losing a sea battle against forces loyal to his son Sweyn Forkbeard.
“We have here the rare case of a discovery that appears to corroborate historical sources,” archaeologist Detlef Jantzen said.
Bluetooth the warrior king
One of the last Viking kings of what is now Denmark, northern Germany, southern Sweden and parts of Norway, Harald ruled from around AD958 to 986.
He is credited with unifying Denmark and introducing Christianity to the Nordic country.
His nickname – from one dead tooth that looked bluish – is now best known for the wireless Bluetooth technology invented by Swedish telecom company Ericsson.
The technology, developed to wirelessly link computers with cellular devices, was named after Bluetooth because of his knack for unification.
The logo is made up of the two ancient runes spelling out his initials HB.