An amateur archaeologist discovered a unique artifact using a metal detector

An amateur archaeologist discovered a unique artifact using a metal detector

A coin found in Gudbrandsdalen, Norway, by an amateur archaeologist will go to the Museum of History and Culture in Oslo. Eivind Arnestad Nielsen was able to discover it using a metal detector. “It’s an honor for me,” admitted the archaeologist.

In a field in the Norwegian valley of Gudbrandsdalen, amateur archaeologist Eivind Arnestad Nielsen found unique coins that could later become the best specimens of his collection.

The coin that the archaeologist discovered is identified as a "double eagle" made of silver. What makes it special is that it does not have the profile of a king or other royal symbols that were usually minted on coins. The archaeologist admitted that this is not only his find, but also of historical value for everyone.

“The opportunity to find a piece of our rich cultural history is a great honor,” Eivind Arnestad Nielsen comments to the Norwegian publication NRK.

Scientists have found the reason why the coin only has the denomination side on it. It's simple: it dates from a very limited era - when the country was not ruled by a king. Innlande district archaeologist Mei-Tove Smiseth emphasizes that “the historical value of this coin is enormous.”

Basically, the king had the exclusive right to mint or make coins. But from 14 April 1523 to 6 August 1524, Norway was left without a monarch after Christian II, King of the United Kingdom of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, was overthrown in a rebellion. Then Hans Mule, the head of the Akershus district and the ruler of Norway during the timeless period, decided to mint a coin. The coin he minted was a double white coin made of silver. This is exactly the coin that Eivind Arnestad Nielsen found. No one knows how many coins the Mule minted, but it was probably not many.

“We found almost none of these coins. They disappear, are sold or melted down. This is one of the few that we have,” notes Smiseth.

According to NRK, the coin will now be transferred to the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo.

Professor Svein Harald Gullbeck describes the find as unique because “it is very rare to see such double coins.”

He also shared that he had once encountered a similar artifact. In 2022, a similar coin was sold at auction for NOK 140 thousand. This example was taken from the collection of the famous Danish coin collector Adler Pedersen.

Gullbekk points out that in Norway there are several examples of coins minted by persons other than the king. In the late 1210s, the Duke of Skule issued coins. Duke Hakon later issued a coin in his own name. Norwegian archbishops did the same in the 1200s and into the late Middle Ages.

No one knows how this rare coin ended up 250 kilometers from Akershus Castle and on a field in Gudbrandsdalen.

NRK notes that the farm has a long history and was first mentioned in the sagas of the kings of Snorri Sturluson. It was also a royal residence for several hundred years.

The land was purchased 13 generations ago by Karen Elise Steig's ancestors.

The owner says: “I think it’s very funny that such things happen here. It’s something special to see material history in front of you and actually realize that someone was here centuries ago.”

According to one version of how the coin ended up there, at the time it was minted, a justice of the peace lived on the farm. He sat on the National Council and helped govern the country.

Despite the very rare find, amateur archaeologist Eivind Arnestad Nielsen is not going to stop. He will continue to search for historical artifacts under his feet. Over the past two years, he was able to cross off many of the artifacts that he could only dream of finding from his wish list. The main thing Nielsen wants to discover is gold coins.

“It was a wonderful experience. Let’s see how many months or years will pass before I find them,” archaeologist Nielsen shares his plans.

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