11th century earring: Presumably a gift from the Emperor of Byzantium to a Viking chief
Photo: Søren Greve / dpa
A man in Denmark found a rare gold earring in a field.
The piece presumably comes from the Middle East and was made in the 11th century.
The 54-year-old Frants Fugl Vestergaard discovered the jewelry using a metal detector in a field in West Jutland, the National Museum in Copenhagen announced on Sunday.
Such an object has never been found in Scandinavia before.
The earring probably came from Byzantium or Egypt and was probably a gift from the Emperor of Byzantium to a Viking chief, it says in a message.
From Monday on, the piece of jewelery will be exhibited in the museum.
No known Viking site nearby
"It is completely unique to us," said museum expert Peter Pentz.
"We only know ten to twelve other specimens worldwide and have never found one in Scandinavia." The Vikings brought thousands of silver coins with them from their forays, trips and trade expeditions, but hardly any jewelry, said Pentz.
He was surprised by the location - because there is no known Viking site in the vicinity.
Gold from Byzantium had previously been found in Viking graves as grave goods.
The earring consists of a crescent-shaped gold plate, which is inlaid in a frame made of gold threads.
The frame is decorated with small gold balls and gold ribbons.
The motif is two stylized birds around a plant that symbolizes the tree of life.
jme / dpa