Gardener finds Denmark’s oldest figure of Christ

Landscape gardener Dennis Fabricius Holm picked up his first metal detector just two and a half months ago. It was his son’s, a Christmas present he’d gotten years before and never used. Holm fished it out of the basement and took it to the empty field next door to his home in the village of Aunslev on the Danish island of Funen to do a few hours of scanning every Friday afternoon. He found some buttons and small coins, nothing to write home about.

Last Friday, March 11th, Holm found something to write history books about. In an area of the field he hadn’t scanned before, his machine alerted him to a metallic object not made of iron. A mere four inches under the surface he found a little gold pendant 3.5 centimeters (1.4 inches) wide and 4 centimeters (1.6 inches) high, weighing 14 grams. The artifact’s fine filigree showed through the caked dirt. Excited about his find, Holm posted pictures of it on a Facebook page for Danish metal detector enthusiasts and was quickly deluged with congratulations.

He contacted Malene Refshauge Beck, an archaeologist and curator at the East Funen Museums, who identified it as a crucifix from the first half of the 10th century. That makes it the oldest figure of Christ ever discovered in Denmark. Before this find, the Christ figure engraved on the largest Jelling Stone, a massive runestone raised by Harald Bluetooth in around 965 A.D., was the oldest known in Denmark. It was a fitting record for a stone whose runic inscription reads: “King Harald bade this monument be made in memory of Gorm his father and Thyra his mother, that Harald who won for himself all Denmark and Norway and made the Danes Christians.”

The pendant could be dated with such precision because it is almost identical to a pendant found in Sweden. The first crucifix of this design was unearthed in 1879 from grave 660 in a Viking cemetery at Birka, an 8th century town about 20 miles west of Stockholm. The earliest Christian missionaries who went to Sweden in the 9th century were centered in Birka. The town was destroyed in the 10th century and never rebuilt. Its ruins were rediscovered by an entomologist, Hjalmar Stolpe, who was there to study ancient insects trapped in amber. When he found large quantities of non-native amber on the island, he realized it must have once been an important trading center and so began archaeological excavations that would continue for almost 25 years, from 1871 through 1895.

A fragmentary second crucifix of the Birka type has survived. Their designs are so similar that archaeologists believe they were made by the same craftsman. East Funen Museums archaeologists will now contact their counterparts at the Swedish History Museum in Stockholm, where the original Birka crucifix is kept. The two crosses will be compared to determine whether they were made by the same hand.

The Aunslev crucifix is the most precious of the three. The first Birka crucifix is gilded silver with much of the gilding worn off. The fragmentary second one is silver. Holm’s find is solid gold. The goldsmith shaped a thin gold wire in parallel lines and small balls called granulation. It would have been a very expensive piece, likely worn by a woman.

Christianity was introduced to Denmark via the elite so this pendant probably belonged to someone wealthy and influential. Whether that person was Christian is impossible to know since the piece was found in a field, not in a grave like the others. Wearing a crucifix could be advantageous when dealing with the already Christianized peoples south of Denmark, and even if the wearer did espouse Christian beliefs, at this stage the new faith often coexisted with the traditional one of Thor and Odin. Indeed, Christ’s expression on the crucifix is not the one of a suffering man near death, but rather of a fearless warrior akin to the Norse heroes and deities.

The pendant is now at the Viking Museum in Ladby where it will be cleaned and conserved. It will be put on display this summer.

Share

RSS feed

4 Comments »

Comment by Licorne
2016-03-17 16:41:32

OoOh that craftmanship. Beautiful. Same dude did it IMHO. Great design too… A cross indeed at the croisée of two cultures, as you said. Speaking of That, récently visited one the ” oldest” Church in France ( Oratoire Germigny Des Pres – Theodulfe, 806, under Charlemagne ) and the rare not-so-restored mosaïque there si basically… quite byzantine. Culture and art do travel a lot.

Comment by livius drusus
2016-03-18 13:10:01

They really do. I think people are so used to thinking of post-Roman Europe as the “Dark Ages” that they sometimes neglect to realize how much trade, travel and cultural exchange was going on, even during politically turbulent times, nevermind times of comparative peace.

 
 
Comment by charles adamson
2019-03-06 15:19:29

CHARLES ADAMSON People make life difficult for their self , we are in the world were everything is in control , i was living a life of poverty and pains, i never new there was a life be young that, but right now i enjoyed every dividend of life , am rich , famous , powerful,i live a life with out no stress, The brotherhood bought me a house and a car. for any body who want riches famous and power,house and a car then you have the chance to do that, join the illuminati today to get whatever you want in life and become rich and also get the same of $ 10,000,000,00 [USD] monthly for membership blessing. email us now (illuminatiworldofsociety1@gmail.com) or text us +2347031524375/whats-app call or text us on whats-app .we don’t patronize people to join. If you are interested you contact us. say bye bye to poverty by joining Illuminati i never believe not until i finally join but now i am rich..this man is real he made me what i am today and i am very proud of me begin a Illuminati member… if they, can make me rich make me become something in life why don’t you join also for you to also be rich the money always flows through the members like an ocean that never runs dry contact him for help to join :::: NOTE; that in the Great Brotherhood of Illuminati no Bloodshed and no Humans sacrifices is involved [we don’t kill for anything] OK… Do not miss this opportunity THANKS.

 
Comment by kenneth james
2019-04-26 03:42:24

TESTIMONY ON HOW I BECAME INSTANT MILLIONAIRE WITH THE HELP OF ILLUMINATI Hello viewers, i want to use this opportunity to thank Mr.who finally helped me to become a full member of the Great Illuminati Brotherhood and now i am living my life in happiness. I am bacoules Sebastian, I was once indigent and lived my life in extreme poverty, the standard of living became so poor and low that I even thought of killing myself, I was deeply strangled up by poverty and I had no body to help me, to eat was a problem to me and my family. Until I met with a great generous illuminate man by name Mr. stefy who told me there would be no need for me to die and he introduced me into realm of riches and fame. He told me to get my membership form which i did, and he told me to get ready for my initiation day and that all new members will be given a certain reward of $50,000 USD cash on my initiation day, i was so happy. so i was initiated to the Illuminati world and few days later i was awarded a contract worth of millions of Dollars, in my business i am doing very well right now, I did exactly what i was ask to do and today the story has change, i have up to $100,000000 USD in my bank account, I am a living testimony, my dream and all the wealth, fame, success and riches, i have ever desired is been made a reality. All the same thanks to Mr. stefy who made my dreams a reality by helping me become a member of the great illuminate. Hurry up now and call our help desk and also be a happy man like me because we are not getting any younger. Opportunity for you today, do not hesitate, once again this is our help desk contact.Thanks for reading my comment whatsApp or call +234701829415,7 or whatsapp the grandmaster +2347018294157

 
Name (required)
E-mail (required - never shown publicly)
URI

;) :yes: :thanks: :skull: :shifty: :p :ohnoes: :notworthy: :no: :love: :lol: :hattip: :giggle: :facepalm: :evil: :eek: :cry: :cool: :confused: :chicken: :boogie: :blush: :blankstare: :angry: :D :) :(

Your Comment (smaller size | larger size)

You may use <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> in your comment.

Navigation

Search

Archives

July 2019
S M T W T F S
« Jun    
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  

Other

Add to Technorati Favorites

Syndication