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Young metal detectorist discovers 1,000-year-old Viking coins in Denmark

By Shannon Carranco, Writer

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    Toronto, Ontario (CTV Network) — A young girl in Denmark made an astounding discovery with a metal detector last fall when she found nearly 300 silver coins that date back to the 980s, making them over 1000 years old.

The mix of Arabic, Danish and Germanic coins were found in two separate spots in a cornfield about eight kilometres from the Fyrkat Viking fortress, near the small town of Hobro in northern Denmark.

The coins were given to the Historical Museum of North Jutland. According to the museum’s website, the 300 coins vary in size and many are broken into pieces, but about 50 are in good condition. The coins were found scattered across the field because of years of agricultural plowing.

Among the loot are two pieces of intricately carved silver, which the museum believes to be from the same piece of jewelry and may have originally been from Scotland or Ireland.

“The two silver treasures constitute a fantastic story in themselves,” Torben Trier Christiansen, the inspector at North Jutland Museums said. “But to find them abandoned in a settlement only eight kilometres from Haralds Blåtand’s Viking fortress Fyrkat is incredibly exciting.”

According to the museum, the Fyrkat Fortress was built in 980 by King Harald Bluetooth and included boat-shaped buildings that were about 30 metres long that housed stables, stores and silversmiths. The Viking fortress was surrounded by a circular wall made of about 10,000 cubic metres of earth.

The museum’s website says the coins were likely buried around the same time as the settlements were abandoned, a common practice for Vikings who would bury their valuables during times of war or unrest.

The silver coins will be on display at the Aalborg Historical Museum in July.

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