Archaeologists Discover “Unique” Ceremonial Bronze Age Sword in Denmark
In the village of Håre on the Danish island of Funen, archaeologists uncovered a rare Bronze Age ritual sword. The sword dates from Phase IV of the Bronze Age, about 3,000 years ago, making it an incredibly rare discovery. What makes it much more impressive is that it is completely preserved, from bronze blade to wood grip.
Even the plant fibres it was wrapped in are extant.
The site was excavated as part of a year-long project to survey the 37-mile-long route of the Baltic Pipe gas pipeline.
Odense City Museums archaeologists were on the last leg of their excavations in west Funen when they discovered the remains of an ancient settlement where the sword was ritually deposited 3,000 years ago.
The swords were removed to the Odense City Museums for cleaning and conservation in controlled conditions. Because of the diversity of materials used in its construction, the sword had to be dismantled to see to the different preservation needs of each piece.
The fibre grip winding, which may be bast from linden wood, was unravelled and the wood and horn components separated from the metal of the blade. Samples were taken to identify the materials.
The sample from the plant fibre will be radiocarbon dated to determine when the sword was made.
The sword weighs almost three pounds (1.3 kilos), a large and very expensive amount of bronze to secure at that time. The grip was cast together with the blade shaft of the sword and covered in wood and antler/bone for a comfortable hold.
The metal was likely imported from Central Europe and then crafted by a local blacksmith. The sample from the bronze alloy of the sword will be tested to identify its exact composition and its source location.
When conservation and study are complete, conservators will reassemble the sword and put it on public display, probably at the Odense Møntergården museum which has permanent exhibits on the ancient history of Funen.
The tiny gold items, created in the picture of Christ on the cross, are thought to make up Denmark’s oldest crucifix.
This newly Found crucifix will show that Danes adopted the Christian faith earlier than previously thought.
An uncommon Vikingcrucifix pendant was Found in a Danish field by an amateur metal detectorist two weeks before Easter.
The small gold item, created in the shape of a man with outstretched arms, resembles the Picture of Christ on the cross.
It’s approximated to be Denmark’s oldest crucifix.
Dating back to the first half of the Tenth century, the pendant is evidence of early Christianity in Denmark, according to experts at the Viking Museum situated at Ladby, where the crucifix is currently kept.
It is said by the museum to be older than Harald Bluetooth’s runic stone in Jelling.
The stones in the town of Jelling have a figure on the cross to demonstrate respect to Harald Bluetooth’s conversion of the Danes to Christianity. Up until now, the large rune stones were calculated to date back to 965 AD.
They were thought to be the earliest Images of Jesus on the cross in Denmark.
The precious item was Found by Dennis Fabricius Holm in the fields near a church village of Aunslev, on the Danish island Funen.
It is very lucky that a piece of jewelry this small persevered for the last 1,100 years in the earth.
The figure measures only 1.6 inches in height and weighs about 0.45 ounces.
While the back surface is even, the front is made of finely jointed gold threads and small filigree pellets. Located at the top is a small eye for a chain to be attached.
It is stated by the museum that it looks similar to the gilded silver cross that was Found in 1879 in Birka, close to Stockholm in Sweden. It was in a female’s grave from the Viking Age.
This silver cross dated back to the first half of the Tenth century. Yet the Aunslev cross is the first Danish specimen that is in full figure.
It was most likely worn by a Viking woman. It has not yet been decided if the cross was to display that she was a Christian or if it was just a part of the pagan Vikings’ style.
As indicated by the Swedish archaeologist Martin Rundkvist, who first announced the discovery on his blog, the crucifixes are too much alike for more than 1 or 2 people to have created them.
The first crucifix was Found at Birka close to Stockholm. Yet the second, third, and the fourth one were discovered close to Hedeby, Denmark. This is probably where all of them were produced.
The Aunlev cross will be placed on exhibit at the Viking Museum in Ladby, until the Easter holiday. Then it will be conveyed to a lab for further preservation.
In the summer it will become part of an exhibit in the exhibition that will display several recent Viking Age discoveries that were made using metal detectors.
120,000-Year-old Neanderthal Artifacts Unearthed in Denmark
Ancient flint tools in the hills of a Danish island gave an indication that 120,000 years ago Neanderthals may have been living there. The first humans in Denmark have been thought to be reindeer hunters from 14,000 years ago.
The slopes of Isefjord’s Ejby Klint between Roskilde and Holbæk were excavated by archaeologists from Denmark’s National Museum and Roskilde Museum. The researchers found ancient mussel shells and flintstones that may have been shaped by humans.
In Denmark Ejby Klint is one of the few places archaeologists can easily locate deposits from the warm time between two ice ages between the ages of 115,000-130,000 years ago.
But more than 100,000 years earlier, Neanderthals lived in Germany, and researchers believe they could have reached modern-day Denmark.
In a six week dig, archaeologists investigated two slopes at Ejby Klint, finding the tools which are now on display in Denmark’s National Museum.
Lasse Sørensen, head of research at the National Museum, says “It’s absolutely wild and very unique that we’ve had the opportunity to dig here at all.”
“I did not think we would find anything at all, but we have actually found some stones that have possible traces of being worked by people, and that in itself is amazing.”
“If we find out that these stones have been worked by Neanderthals, it will resonate all over the world.”
During the warm period between the last two ice ages 115,000 to 130,000 years ago, it was four degrees warmer in Denmark than it is today.
The country’s large hornbeam forests were home to large prey such as beavers, steppe bison, fallow deer, wood rhinos, forest elephants, Irish giant deer and red deer.
At the National Museum, there is already a flint that has been carved with the same technique as the one used by the Neanderthals. However, the flint was not found in a layer of soil that can be dated accurately.
Excavation leader Ole Kastholm from Roskilde Museum said, “Helping to dig on a steep cliff looking for the oldest people in Denmark right here around Roskilde has been a huge experience.
“It must be up to the experts to decide how interesting what we have found is. But now the door may have been opened for more excavations to be made for Neanderthals in Denmark.”
Viking Grave in Denmark Holds Remains of Mother and Son
The Copenhagen Post reports that researchers at the Roskilde Museum have analyzed DNA samples from the remains of a man and woman discovered in a 1,000-year-old burial known as the Gerdrup Grave, and determined that the pair were mother and son.
The grave contains the skeletons of a child and a woman, and archaeologists have long speculated who they might be and why they were buried together.
Another element of the mystery is that the child was killed at some point and buried next to the woman.
The Gerdrup Grave has another important aspect to it: it was the first discovery that proved that Viking women were buried along with a weapon – in this case, a lance.
Well, now some new information has surfaced about the longstanding mystery. DNA testing has revealed that the pair are actually mother and son and, as previously believed, a sacrificial slave.
“It’s an incredibly exciting and surprising result we have here. We need to thoroughly consider what this means,” Ole Kastholm, an archaeologist and senior curator at Roskilde Museum, told TV2 Lorry.
The revelation means that the history of the Gerdrup Grave needs to be rewritten and that a new mystery needs to be solved.
“We need to look at whether other graves and other source material from the Viking Age could reveal some patterns that might help us solve this case,” said Kastholm.
Do Sagas hold the key?
The key to solving the enigma could be found in one of the old Icelandic Sagas, a series of narratives written between the 12th and 15th centuries covering Viking history.
The man in the grave looks to have been executed, hung, and bound before being laid in the grave. Meanwhile, the woman was weighed down with large stones.
One theory is that the lance belonging to the woman in the grave is actually a sorceress’s staff.
Something Odd about them?
One of the sagas tells the story of the sorceress Katla and her son Odd who were persecuted and executed. Odd was hung and Katla was stoned to death.
While the plot thickens and archaeologists work to solve the latest part of the puzzle, the skeletons can be viewed at Roskilde Museum.
Archaeologist Discovered Grauballe man, a preserved bog body from the 3rd century B.C
Two years after the discovery of the Tollund man, another bog body was found on the 26 of April 1952, by local peat cutters in the nearby bog, Nebelgard Fen, situated near the town of Grauballe, Denmark.
Around the time of Grauballe man’s discovery, it was argued that the body belonged to that of Red Christian, a local peat cutter that mysteriously vanished in the area around 1887.
It was trusted that Red fell into the bog after drinking to much alcohol, as it was said that two drunk Englishmen from Cheshire suffered the same fate by falling into Lindow moss in 1853. It was not long before the body was sent to the Prehistory museum at Aarhus for examination and preservation.
Once the body of Grauballe man was fully revealed, many wondered at how well the body was preserved. A brisk examination of the Body at the site revealed that Grauballe man was naked and had no items or belongings with him.
When Grauballe man was analyzed with more detail at the museum, it was revealed that he was around 30 years of old at the time of his death. It was also revealed that the body of Grauballe man was 1.75 m Height, and still had hair of about 5 cm long as well as a stubble on his chin. Grauballe man’s hands and fingers, when closely inspected, showed no signs of manual labor.
So, we know, based on a VISUAL examination, that Grauballe man was 30 years of age, was 1.75 m Height, still had hair and his hands showed no sign of no physical work.
But how could we know his age? How did we know that his hands showed no sign of labor? The basic answer is that ‘we’ use Science.
When Grauballe man was scientifically inspected, through a wide array of techniques, numerous features where revealed, such as what Grauballe man ate and what wounds he sustained. The scientific examination of Grauballe man has been listed below.
Radiocarbon dating. Used to date the age of the body, which was around 310 B.C – 55 B.C. Placing the Grauballe man in the late Iron age. Scanning Electron microscope. Utilized for a closer examination of the body. Scientists, and Archaeologists worked out that Grauballe man was not a very hard worker by using the microscope to Determine his fingerprints, which were relatively smooth.
It was also used to show what Grauballe man had eaten. Results from an examination inside the stomach uncovered that Grauballe mans last meal consisted of porridge made from corn, seeds from more then 60 different herbs, and grasses which was uncovered to contain traces of a poisonous fungi, known as fungi ergot.
Grauballe man is believed to have died in winter or early spring as there is a lack of FRESH herbs and berries in his stomach.
Forensic analysis. Used to determine the wounds that the body sustained, which consisted of a cut to the throat that extended from ear to ear, cracks to the skull and right tibia, which was believed to be caused by a weapon, however when the body was re-examined again it was in fact caused by the pressure in the bog.
It has also been noted that there were 4 missing lumbar vertebrae. Forensics have also been able to reconstruct the face of Grauballe man, as well as numerous other faces from various bodies.
Templates from the x-rays of the skull were utilized and the skull was sculpted from clay over these templates. CT scanning and Computer Generated imagery was also used to help modify the facial reconstruction.
Cause of death:
There are many speculations associated with Grauballe’s man’s death. The cut on the throat is said to be the cause of Grauballe’s man’s death.
It is believed that Grauballe man was a criminal who paid the cost of death. But how would we know this? Based on the written sources of Tacitus, the Roman historian, the clans of northern Europe had a very strict society. So if one broke the law or committed an offence, they would be put to death.
A criminal or a prisoner of war would fit this description. But, what about his hands? As said before, Grauballe man’s hands showed no sign of manual labor, recommending that he was used for sacrificial purposes. Tacitus mentions that the clans of northern Europe have a connection to mother earth.
He says that during spring she visits these clans and upon departing, a selection of people are sacrificed . Based on the wounds, and the hands of Grauballe man, as well as sources to back it up, this seems to be Grauballe man’s likely cause of death.
But what about the poisonous fungi found in his stomach? New data suggests that if this fungi was to make Grauballe man sick, then it would of more then likely make him incapable to work.
It would have also caused agonizing symptoms which are historically known as St. Anthony’s Fire. Symptoms of this disease include convulsions, hallucinations and burning of the mouth, feet and hands. It is more than likely that Grauballe mans ingested the fungus by natural means.
If there was any bad luck in the village then the Grauballe man would be at the forefront of the allegations, which would regard him as being the cause of these woes and mishaps.
He would be seen as someone corrupted by an evil spirit, and therefore put to death and deposited in a bog far from town. The exact cause of death is however a mystery and therefore there is no single explanations of how Grauballe man died.
A 13 Year old just Discovered 1,000-year-old silver treasure hoard in Denmark
When someone asked what the coolest thing you accomplished as a newly minted teenager, most people would probably have to confess something like “successfully pulled off a kickflip” or “puberty.” But not Luca Malaschnitschenko, who at age 13, recently found a cache of buried coins and treasure that once belonged a 10th Century Danish king.
During a trip to the German island of Rugen in the Baltic Sea back in January, Malaschnitschenko — a budding archaeology student — was scouring a field with a metal detector searching for treasure, as any kid with a metal detector is wont to do.
He was accompanied by his teacher and amateur archaeologist, René Schön, and when they heard the device blip they dug down and uncovered what they at first thought was just a worthless piece of aluminium.
But, they later realize it was actually a piece of silver, and appeared to be an old coin. That’s when they called up the state archaeology office, which cordoned off a nearly 5,000 square feet in order to conduct a proper dig.
Both Schön and Malaschnitschenko were invited to participate in the final excavation and uncover the hoard in its entirety, which turned out to be quite a doozy. A trove of crazy old coins, jewellery, and other fancy items that once belonged to a Danish king who ruled over a millennium ago.
Much of what was found is likely linked to King Harald Bluetooth, who reigned from the year 958AD to 986AD, and is credited with having brought Christianity to Denmark.
Specifically, it includes things like braided necklaces, pearls, brooches, Thor’s hammer, rings, and roughly 600 coins, according to a report by The Guardians.
“This trove is the greatest single discovery of Bluetooth coins in the southern Baltic Sea region and is therefore of great significance,” lead archaeologist, Michael Schirren, told a local news service, per the daily newspaper.
If you are wondering why “Bluetooth” shares the same name as the tech you use to pair your headphones and computer mice, it’s because it’s actually named after him.
The story goes that it was named in his honour since he was known for uniting Scandinavia, in the same sense that the Swedish inventors of Bluetooth technology intended to unite PC and wireless devices.
Further, the official Bluetooth logo is actually a melding of the King’s initials in an ancient Scandinavian alphabet.
As of now, it’s unclear where the uncovered treasure will go on display or end up, but it’s certainly safe to assume this 13-year-old should have no trouble padding his college applications with some uniquely impressive accomplishments.
Missing for 400 years: Archaeologists discover missing 17th-century warship
The Copenhagen Post reports that the wreckage of the Delmenhorst, one of the first ships constructed from drawings, was found some 500 feet off the coast of Denmark during offshore construction work.
The warship, konow almost completely buried in the seabed, was grounded in 1644 during the Battle of Fehmarn, fought between the Danes and a Swedish and Dutch fleet as part of a brief conflict called the Torstenson War.
It is the last Danish sunken ship missing from the fateful battle, which turned out to be the final battle of the King Christian IV era – he lost his right eye in battle four months earlier.
Realising that the battle had been lost, the ‘Delmenhorst’ was intentionally grounded near Rødbyhavn in the final hours of the battle to a joint Swedish/Dutch fleet because the Danes hoped to defend it using a massive cannon in the harbour town.
However, the crafty Swedes sacrificed one of their own ships by setting it ablaze and sailing it into the ‘Delmenhorst’, which consequently caught fire and sank.
End of Danish power
The battle was waged as part of the Torstenson War, which signalled the end of Denmark’s time as a European power. After the loss, Sweden replaced Denmark as the leading power in the Nordic region.
The Delmenhorst, located about 150 metres off the Danish shore, is unique because it is one of the first ships constructed from drawings.
The wreck was discovered as part of the work on the Fehmarn Bridge connecting Denmark and Germany.
Because the wreck is almost completely buried in the seabed, archaeologists will leave it in the hope that experts will have the technology to glean information from it in the future.
A well-preserved 400-year old ship has been found in the Baltic Sea
Although the company reported wrecks of some so-called 1st or 2nd World War wrecks at the mouth of the Gulf of Finland, Badewanne divers descended on one of the biggest surprises during their long career of diving the wrecks of this eastern extension of the Baltic Sea.
The Baltic Sea has been an exceedingly important trading itinerary since the Middle Ages, as the navies of Holland and England needed endless supplies of wood, tar, and hemp, all of which were available around the Baltic.
The Hanseatic League dominated the trade from the 13th century but the highly powerful merchant fleet of the Dutch Republic acquired dominance of the trade during the 17th century.
This trade received a significant boost in importance and profitability after Czar Peter the Great founded his new capital St. Petersburg at the estuary of Neva river, in the easternmost part of GoF.
One ship type rises above others and becomes the mainstay of this trade: the Dutch “Fluit” ship, a three-masted ship with very capacious hull design, carrying no guns, and allowing a very large cargo capacity.
In addition, the Fluit ships utilized a very novel and advanced rigging using cleverly designed pulley and tackle systems for hoisting the yards and sails and controlling them.
These advanced technical features facilitated a much smaller crew than earlier ship types, making the trade more profitable. Another totally novel feature onboard the Fluit ships were that the entire crew lived “abaft of the mainmast” – Master, mates, bosun, cook, and all ratings, all occupied the same space ‘tween decks and ate at the same table.
This was very unusual in contemporary society, let alone in the highly hierarchic maritime world. Fluit ships were dominant in the Baltic trade between the late 16th to the mid-18th centuries. However, very few of these once common ships have survived, even as wrecks.
Therefore, it was to our great surprise when descending on a wreck at 85 meters depth, expecting to see an early WW1 minesweeper or a schooner sunk during WW2, we realized that we are looking at an almost completely preserved Dutch Fluit ship! She rests on even keel on the seabed, with most of her rigging scattered around her.
There is only slight damage from a pelagic trawl. The trawl seems to have swept her from a bow towards the aft, dislocating the stem, damaging the poop deck, and the topmost part of the typical Fluit transom somewhat.
Apart from these damages, the wreck is intact, holds are full, and all side planking is firmly in place. Even the damaged parts and components of the transom decorations, such as the “Hoekmen”, or the “Strongmen” may be found on the bottom behind the stern. Luckily, only very small bits of the trawl netting remain on the wreck.
It is only in rare places around the world, including the Baltic Sea, where wooden wrecks can survive for centuries without being destroyed by chemical, biochemical and biological decaying processes.
Due to low salinity, absolute darkness, and very low temperatures all year round these processes are very slow in the Baltic. Perhaps most importantly, wood-boring organisms such as shipworm cannot live in such an environment. Even in temperate seas, all wooden wrecks vanish in decades, unless buried in sediments.
This find, a practically intact and complete Dutch Fluit ship, the Queen of the Baltic trade from almost 400 years back, is a good example of the importance of the Baltic Sea, and especially the Gulf of Finland as a special cellar of the sea.
Only here the environment preserves the wrecks, which are plentiful due to the sea being a very important trade route and battleground for many wars during centuries.
And all of these wrecks are within the range of modern technical diving methods! Badewanne team will continue documenting and investigating this significant wreck in co-operation with the Finnish Heritage Agency of Antiquities and other partners, Including Associate Professor Dr. Niklas Eriksson, Maritime Archaeologist, Univ. of Stockholm, Sweden:
“The wreck reveals many of the characteristics of the fluit but also some unique features, not least the construction of the stern. It might be that this is an early example of the design. The wreck thus offers a unique opportunity to investigate the development of a ship type that sailed all over the world and became the tool that laid the foundation for early modern globalization,” says Dr. Eriksson.