1,000-Year-Old Treasure Linked To Danish King Found By 13-Year-Old Boy

Published April 23, 2018
Updated April 27, 2018

A 13-year-old boy in Northern Germany had no idea the piece of "aluminum" he discovered was actually silver from a trove of ancient treasures.

Danish Treasure Discovery

Stefan Sauer/AFPSchoenand and 13-year-old Malaschnichenko participating in the 4,300-square-foot northern Germany dig.

A recent discovery by a hobby archeologist and his 13-year-old pupil proved it doesn’t take a pro to uncover a hoard of treasure.

In January of 2018, Rene Schon and his student Luca Malaschnitschenko were using metal detectors on Rugen Island, a Baltic Sea island in northern Germany, when they came across something. At first, they believed it to be just a piece of aluminum. But upon further inspection, they realized it was actually a piece of silver.

The duo’s discovery led to a regional archaeological dig of the area, covering 4,300 square feet. What they found was a treasure trove linked to Danish king Harald Gormsson, better known as King Harald Bluetooth. Bluetooth reigned over what is currently Denmark, northern Germany, parts of Norway, and areas of Sweden from around 958 A.D. to 986 A.D.

Bluetooth Trove

Stefan Sauer /AFP/Getty ImagesTenth-century silver items are pictured on a table in Schaprode, northern Germany. The trove may have belonged to the legendary Danish King Harald Bluetooth.

The excavation uncovered pearls and jewelry from the Viking Age as well as 600 chipped coins, over 100 of which date back to Bluetooth’s reign.

“This trove is the biggest single discovery of Bluetooth coins in the southern Baltic Sea region and is therefore of great significance,” reported Michael Schirren, the lead archaeologist.

The silver coins that Schon and Malaschnitscheneko uncovered feature a Christian cross and is among Denmark’s first independent coins.

The oldest coin found was a Damascus dirham, which dates back to 714. The most recent was a penny from 983.

Harald Bluetooth is known for bringing Christianity to Denmark and implementing reforms that brought together the previously fragmented country under the Danish empire.

Bluetooth Coins

Stefan Sauer/AFP/Getty ImagesHundreds of coins were found in the dig. Braided necklaces, pearls, brooches, a Thor’s hammer and rings were also discovered.

He is also the namesake of Bluetooth technology, as the engineer, Jim Kardach, happened to be reading about Vikings while he was developing the technology. The symbol is also made of two runes that spell the king’s initials.

The treasure trove was likely buried in the late 980s, which coincides with Bluetooth’s flee to Pomerania after his son led a rebellion against him.

Schon and Malaschnichenko participated in the dig that uncovered the rest of the trove buried on the island.

As Schon said, “That was the find of my life.”

If you found this article interesting, you may also like to read about the ‘extraterrestrial origin’ of King Tut’s dagger. Then check out the 400-year-old artifacts uncovered at the first English Settlement.

Kara Goldfarb
Kara Goldfarb is a writer living in New York City.