Friday, December 8, 2023

Dutch historian finds medieval treasure using metal detector

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A Dutch historian found a unique 1,000-year-old medieval golden treasure, consisting of four golden ear pendants, two strips of gold leaf and 39 silver coins, the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities announced on Thursday.

Lorenzo Ruijter, 27, who has been treasure hunting since he was 10, discovered the treasure in 2021 in the small northern city of Hoogwoud, using a metal detector.

“It was very special discovering something this valuable, I can’t really describe it. I never expected to discover anything like this”, Mr Ruijter said, adding that it was hard to keep it a secret for two years.

But experts at the National Museum of Antiquities needed the time to clean, investigate and date the treasure’s objects, and have now revealed that the youngest coin can be dated back to around AD 1250, meaning the treasure was likely buried not long afterwards.

Mr Ruijter discovered the treasure in 2021 in the small northern city of Hoogwoud, using a metal detector.(Reuters: Archeologie West-Friesland/Handout)

By that time the jewellery was already two centuries old, the museum said, adding it must already have been “an expensive and cherished possession”.

“Golden jewellery from the High Middle Ages is extremely rare in the Netherlands,” the museum also said.

While it will remain a mystery why exactly the treasure was buried, the museum pointed out there was a war raging between the Dutch regions West Friesland and Holland in the middle of the 13th century, with Hoogwoud being the epicentre.

Mr Ruijter said it was possible someone powerful buried the valuable objects as a way to protect them and hopefully dig them up once it was safe again.

Given its archaeological significance, the treasure was given as a loan to the museum, which will display it, but it will remain the official property of Mr Ruijter.


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