Do you dream of buried treasure? Many of us do, but metal detector hobbyists take this desire to the next level. Treasure hoards are real, and when discovered can vastly expand historical knowledge. Some places, such as the UK, even have laws about what to do when you find that glint of gold or silver. For one recently lucky Dutch metal detectorist, his find contained rare medieval golden jewelry and silver coins.
Metal detectorist and historian Lorenzo Ruijter has been searching for treasure since he was 10 years old. In 2021, he got the magical “ping” and discovered a few objects buried in Hoogwoud, a small Dutch city. He uncovered four golden ear pendants, two strips of gold leaf, and 39 silver coins. He notified Archeology West Friesland and the artifacts were taken to the National Museum of Antiquities for preservation. The experts there studied the metal pieces, noting the latest of the minted coins dates to about 1250 C.E. It is around this time they believe the hoard was buried. It is possible that someone buried it to protect it from the war raging in the area at the time between the regions of West Friesland and Holland.
The jewelry found with the coins dates even earlier. It is thought to be from 1000 to 1050 C.E. It has likely been passed down the generations and highly prized by its owner. According to a Google-translated statement from Archeology West Friesland, “Gold jewelry from the ‘High Middle Ages' is extremely rare in the Netherlands and the period in which this treasure find was buried is one of important historical events. It is the troubled time of the wars between West Friesland and the County of Holland, and the death of the Count of Holland and King Willem II in the vicinity of Hoogwoud. This makes these jewelery and coins of great significance for the archeology and history of North Holland and West Friesland and even of national and international importance.”
“It was very special discovering something this valuable, I can't really describe it. I never expected to discover anything like this,” Ruijter told Reuters. Everyone else will get to enjoy this cultural heritage, too. The pieces will be displayed at the museum, although Ruijter will retain ownership. They will form part of the upcoming exhibit The Year 1000 on view from October 13, 2023, to March 17, 2024.