GENERICO.ruScienceArchaeologists have found golden “entrance tickets” to a Viking-era temple

Archaeologists have found golden “entrance tickets” to a Viking-era temple

1,400-year-old artifacts found at site of pagan temple in Norway

A total of 35 gold plates were found on the side of a road near Hove Farm in Norway. Previously, there was a pagan temple in that vicinity. The five most recently discovered specimens were discovered during excavations led by University of Oslo Museum of Cultural History archaeologist Kathryn Stene. Let's figure out what their cultural heritage is and why they are so important for scientists.

1,400-year-old artifacts found at site of pagan temple in Norway

Archaeological excavations near Wingrom bore fruit: mysterious golden treasures were found just under 1 centimeter high and wide with a fingernail. They could help unlock the secrets of ancient society, scientists say.

Tiny gold foil plates discovered during excavations at a pagan religious temple have become a rare find in Norway. There are only 10 known sites in the country where similar archaeological finds have been discovered. The area of ​​Khowa is unique in that 35 such ancient relics were found here. According to Ingunn Marit Røstad, an archaeologist and associate professor at the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo, more than 3,000 similar foils have been found: “They are found in almost all of Scandinavia, but only here. They had the same images on them, so they meant something and were important.”

The last artifacts found were under the walls in recesses in the support pillars of the temple. Nikolai Eckhoff, a consultant in rescue archeology at the University of Oslo who took part in the excavations, concluded that if the plates were placed there intentionally, they could have been offerings: “They tell us a story about the importance of the area in which they were found.”< /p>

CNN clarifies that the site where the excavations were carried out is located next to Mjøsa (the largest lake in Norway), at the source of the Gudbrandsalslågen river. From this it is clear that this is a strategically important site in the country's past: most trade goods from the mountainous regions passed through this place before being sent ashore.

“The plates confirm that at the end of the Norwegian Iron Age the temple was center of power,” comments Nikolai Eckhoff.

The remains of a temple at Hove were discovered in 1993 along with two gold plates. According to Science Norway, subsequent excavations uncovered a further 28 artifacts. Eckhoff also said there is evidence that the pagan temple burned down during the Viking Age, allowing the artifacts to be further protected under a layer of stone and ash.

What secrets do the plates hide? Their designs reference the Merovingian period, the pre-Viking period between 476 and 750 AD. It remains unclear exactly why they were created.

Ingunn Marit Røstad suggests that “it was some form of sacrifice – probably in connection with some rituals that took place inside the pagan building, perhaps weddings, since so many of the coins depict couples.”

The gold plates previously discovered in Denmark mostly depict men, women and animals. The figures are commonly seen holding jewelry, weapons, drinking cups, and wearing dresses and robes worn by members of the royal family, and some theories even suggest that they represent gods and goddesses from Norse mythology.

Archaeologists usually call such foil “gullgubber”, from the Norwegian word “gullgubbe”, which translates as “golden old men.”

The former head of archeology at the Bornholms Museum, Margaret Watt, explained how such plates could be made: “gold foil was pressed into stamped paint made of bronze, similar to the process of making a coin. They are made primarily of gold along with other variations of metals, probably because gold was difficult to obtain during this period.”

Archaeologists have noted differences in the subject matter of artifacts found in different regions of Scandinavia: “Some of the images may have slightly different decorations, and you can also see that the dresses are slightly different.”

The newly discovered objects show a man dressed in a short robe, and the woman is wearing a long Norwegian dress with a train and jewelry. It is worth noting that the plates are also used by scientists as “a source for studying the costume customs of that time.”

noted the importance of excavations for the country: “Norway is an amazing “reserve” country for archaeologists, because literally every year scientists find something unique in the ground. So, in 2020, archaeologists discovered a pagan temple of Thor and Odin from the Viking era, built several centuries before the adoption of Christianity. Such large “houses of the gods” as in the town of Ose began to be built in the 6th century. But the finds made in Hove are no less unique, because there we are talking about a small “local” temple.”

—It is characteristic that most of the discoveries, as in this case, are made by scientists during the construction of residential complexes or roads. According to Norwegian laws, archaeologists first examine the future construction site. If something worthwhile is found, construction work is frozen and archaeological excavations begin.

The expert also explained what is unusual about records of this type: “There is a version that these are kind of entrance tickets to the temple, which were in constant “circulation.” It sounds strange, but this version makes sense, because it is a kind of sacrifice that was performed by rich parishioners.”

— Since the beginning of the last century, the state has been trying to preserve its cultural values, and archaeological excavations of the famous Viking ship in Oseberg became the reason for the adoption in 1904 of a law prohibiting the export of antiquities. This is an amazing story about the farmer Oscar Rom, who was actually the rightful owner of the drakkar discovered on his land and other artifacts found in the mound. It was assumed that he would transfer the antiquities to the state as a gift or for a certain sum, but by law the owner had the right to sell the finds to anyone. The fact that the national treasures were so little protected by law caused great consternation in society, and as a result a law was passed to protect them. As for the Oseberg mound, in the end, the landowner Fritz Treschow bought all the finds for 12,000 crowns and gave them to the people of Norway.

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