Archaeologists suggest that a remarkable gold earring, uncovered in Denmark, may have been bestowed by the Byzantine Emperor upon a Viking chieftain a millennium ago. This ‘completely unique’ piece of gold jewelry, dating back to the 11th century, is a rare find in the Nordic regions and was stumbled upon by a metal detectorist in a field near Bøvling in West Jutland, Denmark.

The earring has an email, now slightly cracked, formed in a motif of two stylised birds around a tree or a plant, which symbolises the tree of life
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
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
The earring and the Dagmark Cross (pictured) are thought to both date from the Viking Age or the earliest Middle Ages
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 earring is the first of its kind in Scandinavia, and there are only 10 to 12 pieces of the same kind worldwide 

Believed to have originated from Byzantium or Egypt, this discovery hints at potential Viking connections throughout the Mediterranean.

The Byzantine Empire, known for its dominance from 395 to 1204 and 1261 to 1453, centered around Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul).

Currently showcased in Denmark National Museum’s Viking exhibition ‘Togtet’ (The Cruise), which delves into Viking journeys to the Middle East, the earring remains unparalleled in the region.

Experts have yet to find a matching earring, raising intrigue about its singular existence.

Peter Pentz, an inspector at the National Museum Denmark, described it as a unique and invaluable piece, unexpected in a random Bøvling field.

The find comprises a crescent-shaped gold plate nestled in a frame of gold threads adorned with small gold balls and ribbons.

The enamel on the crescent-shaped plate, slightly cracked, utilized a special technique involving glass breaking and powdering, melted with metal to achieve opacity.

The enamel motif depicts two stylized birds encircling a tree or plant, symbolizing the tree of life.

Similar jewelry is recognized, particularly from Muslim Egypt, Syria, Byzantium, and Russia.

In terms of style and craftsmanship, it draws parallels with the Dagmark Cross, an 11th or 12th-century Byzantine relic.

Both the earring and the Dagmark Cross likely date back to the Viking Age or the early Middle Ages, possibly not obtained through trade but as royal donations.

This contrasts with the Dagmark Cross found in a queen’s grave in Denmark, while the new treasure surfaced in a Bøvling field, presenting a mysterious origin.

Discovered by Frants Fugl Vestergaard, the 54-year-old metal detectorist, the earring’s unexpected location adds to the mystery.

One theory speculates that Vikings, serving the Byzantine emperor as mercenaries, received such gifts.

The find underscores West Jutland’s historical global connections, according to Astrid Toftdal Jensen, an inspector at Holstebro Museum near the discovery site.

Jensen expresses hope that the earring can be displayed at the museum in the future, connecting it with its place of origin.

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