Maybe I need to get myself a metal detector.
The reason I say this is that it's apparently an auspicious time for treasure hunters, at least judging by two discoveries I found out about (once again!) from my friend and fellow writer Gil Miller, without whom in the last couple of weeks I wouldn't have had much to write about here.
The first one was a discovery in Norway made by an amateur treasure hunting enthusiast, using his newly-purchased metal detector for the first time (maybe there's something to beginner's luck after all...). The fortunate fellow is named Ole Ginnerup Schytz, and I have to point out that (1) no, I am not making this name up, and (2), yes, this is from a reputable source, specifically the National Museum of Denmark.
In any case, the discovery, made a couple of months ago near the town of Jelling but only announced recently, is absolutely stupendous. It's a collection of gold artifacts dating from the Danish Iron Age, about seventh century C.E. It consists primarily of bracteates -- rune-decorated medallions thought to have not only a decorative but a magical purpose. This new collection has bracteate designs the archaeologists say they've never seen before."It is the symbolism represented on these objects that makes them unique, more than the quantity found," explained Mads Ravn, director of research at the Vejle Museum.
As far as Schytz, he was as stunned as everyone else by his discovery. "When the device activated, I knelt down and found a small, bent piece of metal," he said. "It was scratched and covered in mud. I had no idea, so all I could think of was that it looked like the lid of a can of herring."