Desktop Archaeology: Bluetooth Treasure Horde Unearthed in Germany’s Largest Island

Amateur archaeologists discovered a coin and jewelry horde on the Baltic Sea island of Rügen. The finds date back to the 10th century during the time of the Danish king Harald Bluetooth.

Rene Schön and 13-year-old sidekick Luca Malaschnitschenko were sweeping an area near Schaprode of the northern Germany island with metal detectors last January 2018 when they came upon the treasure. At first, they thought they only happened upon a piece of tinfoil, according to Deutsche Welle. But after further examination, they realized that they were looking at silver.

The pair kept quiet about their momentous discovery to the media for three months. During that time, they worked with professional archaeologists to excavate a 4,300 sq. ft. area. After the dig, the team assessed the find and counted approximately 600 coins, a couple of braided necklaces, a Thor’s hammer, pearls, brooches, and rings.

Micheal Shirren, the leading archaeologist of the project, commented to German news agency DPA that it was the “biggest single discovery of Bluetooth coins in the southern Baltic Sea region and is therefore of great significance.”

An example of a silver Damascus dirham dating back to 718-719, LACMA.
An example of a silver Damascus dirham dating back to 718-719, LACMA.

The oldest coin amongst the trove is a Damascus dirham of 714 CE while the latest are 983 CE Frankish Otto-Adelheid pennies, BBC reports.

In modern parlance, Bluetooth refers to the wireless technology that lets us exchange information over short distances between our smart devices. But before that term was applied to the modern innovation, it referred to Harald Gormsson, king of what is now Denmark, sections of Norway, southern Sweden, and northern Germany. He became known as Bluetooth because of one badly discolored tooth.

 

The Bluetooth logo is a combination of the Younger Futhark runes Haglaz and Berkanan, Wikimedia Commons.
The Bluetooth logo is a combination of the Younger Futhark runes Haglaz and Berkanan, Wikimedia Commons.

Harald Bluetooth’s reign over the united Scandinavia began in 958 CE. He is considered as the founder of the Jelling dynasty, and the one who brought Christianity to Denmark. He and his troops may have buried the coins and the jewelry as the fled to Pomerania in 986 CE, after his son Sweyn Forkbeard (Sven Gabelbart) deposed him in a rebellion, writes The Guardian.

The man whose legacy lives on in modern wireless technology was known to be a good communicator. Hence, the baptism of the innovation by Nordic firms as Bluetooth.

 

References:

‘Bluetooth’ treasure found on German Baltic Sea island. (2018, Apr. 16). Retrieved from http://www.dw.com/en/bluetooth-treasure-found-on-german-baltic-sea-island/a-43403908.

Boy unearths treasure of the Danish king Bluetooth in Germany. (2018, Apr. 16). Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/16/treasure-of-legendary-danish-king-bluetooth-unearthed-in-germany.

Germans find ‘Harald Bluetooth’ medieval treasure. (2018, Apr. 16). Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-43786129.

 

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