Experts believe that a stunning pair of earrings in gold found in Denmark could have been given by the Emperor Of Byzantium as a gift to a Viking Chief 1,000 years ago.

Dating from the 11th century, the ‘completely unique’ gold jewellery has never been seen before in the Nordic countries.

Likely one of a pair, it was found by a metal detectorist in a field near Bøvling in West Jutland, Denmark.

It’s thought to have been originally crafted in Byzantium or Egypt and is potential evidence the Vikings had connections all the way around the Mediterranean.

The Byzantine Empire (from 395 to 1204 and from 1261 to 1403), also known by the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium was an influential civilization that had its headquarters in Constantinople (modern day Istanbul).  

An email is now slightly cracking on the earring. It features a motif consisting of two stylized birds surrounding a tree, or plant. This symbolises life’s tree.

The earring is probably from Egypt and reached all the way to Bøvling, where Frants Fugl Vestergaard found it on a field with a metal detector

The earring is probably from Egypt and reached all the way to Bøvling, where Frants Fugl Vestergaard found it on a field with a metal detector

BYZANTINE EMPIRE 

The Byzantine Empire (from 395 to 1204 and from 1261 to 1403), also known by the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium was an influential civilization that had its headquarters in Constantinople (modern day Istanbul). 

Constantinople was once the capital of Byzantine antiquity. It ruled over large parts of Italy, Greece, and Turkey for more that 1,000 years. This empire is the longest to last a century.

The Crusaders invaded the city in 1202 and stole many of its treasures. More was taken later. 

The exhibit is now on display at the Danish National Museum’s Viking Exhibition ‘Togtet, which literally translates to ‘The Cruise’. It is about Viking travels in the Middle East. 

Experts are unable to locate a comparable earring that could have been part of a pair.  

Peter Pentz from the National Museum Denmark, Inspector, stated that the specimen is unique because he only knows of 10-12 other examples in the world. He also said that he has never seen one in Scandinavia. 

‘We had expected to find such a fine and invaluable piece of jewellery like this together with a large gold treasure or in a royal tomb and not on a random field in Bøvling.’ 

It consists of a crescent-shaped, gold plate that has been inserted within a frame made from gold threads decorated with small gold balls. 

The plate’s crescent-shaped shape is now covered in an enamel. This was created using a unique technique that involves breaking down and powdering glass, before it is melted with metal to make it opaque. 

Two stylised birds are arranged around a tree, or plant to represent the motif in enamel. 

Vikings had connections all the way to the Mediterranean, according to the National Museum Denmark

Vikings had connections all the way to the Mediterranean, according to the National Museum Denmark

Back of the earring. The find consists of a crescent-shaped gold plate inserted in a frame made of gold threads adorned with small gold balls and gold ribbons

Back view of the earring. This find is made up of a gold crescent-shaped plate, inserted into a frame of gold threads and decorated with small gold balls or gold ribbons.

This kind of jewelry is most popular in Muslim Egypt, Syria, Byzantium, and Russia. 

In terms of style and craftsmanship, it’s similar to the Dagmark cross – an 11th or 12th-century Byzantine relic. 

The earring and the Dagmark Cross are thought to both date from the Viking Age or the earliest Middle Ages and were likely not traded but donated by kings and emperors.

This explains how the Dagmark Cross was discovered in the grave of a Danish queen at St. Bendt’s Church, Ringsted in 1683.  

The earring and the Dagmark Cross (pictured) are thought to both date from the Viking Age or the earliest Middle Ages

Both the Dagmark cross (pictured) and the earring are believed to date back to the Viking Age.

In contrast, the new treasure was found in a field in Bøvling without known Viking sites nearby, so how it ended up there is therefore a bit of a mystery. 

The discoverer of the priceless find was 54-year-old Frants Fugl Vestergaard, who had searched the field many times before in the hunt for ‘danefæ’ – gold and silver in the earth without an owner. 

He heard his detector make a weak bleep and picked up some earth clumps in his hands to discover the earring. 

According to him, ‘Stop It’ I Think, then it’s time for me to stand still,’ said the National Museum.

“I feel very humbled, and I wondered why that particular piece was found in West Jutland. There is so much to be discovered between them. It’s almost like reading the text of the past. 

It's now being exhibited in Denmark National Museum's Viking exhibition 'Togtet', which translates as 'The Cruise' and is all about Viking travels to the Middle East

The exhibit is now on display at the Danish National Museum’s Viking Exhibition ‘Togtet, which literally translates to ‘The Cruise’. It is about Viking travels in the Middle East.

The earring is the first of its kind in Scandinavia, and there are only 10 to 12 pieces of the same kind worldwide

This earring was the first in Scandinavia and only 10-12 pieces worldwide of it are available.

“You yearn for something special, an exceptional find and you find it suddenly in your possession.” It’s impossible to imagine.  

It could be explained by the fact that many Vikings enlisted in war service to the Byzantine Emperor, who was surrounded by warriors from Scandinavia. 

Icelandic legends reveal that mercenaries returned from East with silk, weapons, and that occasionally the Emperor gave fine gifts to his guard.

The earring may have been handed by the Emperor to a Viking trusted in his bodyguard, and then it was lost in unknown circumstances in Denmark. 

The find confirms that West Jutland has always had strong connections around the world,’ said Astrid Toftdal Jensen, an inspector at Holstebro Museum, which is near its finding place. 

Jensen hopes to have the earring loaned later so it is possible for visitors to see it in the same area it was discovered.          

1.400-YEAR-OLD AMETHYST RING USED TO WARD OFF HANGOVERS’ IS DISCOVERED ON SITE OF BYZANTINE WAINE FACTORY

A large ancient wine factory in the Middle East has found an ancient amethyst and gold ring. It was thought that it was worn to prevent hangovers. 

The ‘spectacular’ ring was found during excavations led by the Israel Antiquities Authority in the city of Yavne in central Israel.   

Here is where you will find the Byzantine wine plant, which covers 75,000 feet. It produced as much as two million litres per year during its peak. 

This ring could have been worn to show wealth by someone who was high-status, probably around the 7thcentury AD, because of its beautiful violet-coloured central stone.

It’s also possible that the last wearer was a wine taster who believed the purple stone would ward off the effects of alcohol – a widely-shared myth in the ancient world. 

Amethyst is crystalline quartz that comes in colours ranging from pale lilac to a deep reddish purple.

The name of the popular gemstone means ‘not drunken’ in Greek, and it was widely believed in the ancient world to halt the effects of alcohol – although this is rubbished by modern science.

Read more: Ancient amethyst ring found at an ancient wine factory in Israel