• Sweden edition
 
Viking-age 'gold men' unearthed in Sweden
One of the gold heads found on the site. Photo: Blekinge Museum

Viking-age 'gold men' unearthed in Sweden

Published: 15 Nov 2013 14:53 GMT+01:00

"The initial find was a real surprise," archaeologist Mikael Henriksson told The Local. "But it sunk in after a while."

The initial find Henriksson refers to is his own discovery of a bronze Celtic mask back in 2004, on a hill in a valley in Västra Vång in Blekinge. After eight years, a whole team was dispatched to the area to conduct a thorough excavation with geo-radars where the team found what Henriksson called a site "of great importance" dating back to the Iron Age, between the birth of Christ and the early Middle Ages.

The team uncovered a number of trinkets there over a period of two years, including gold foil heads of men and women that were likely used to decorate large cauldrons. 

IN PICTURES: See more from the find 

Since then, the team kept the finds secret from the public to avoid plundering, and retrieved a total of 29 of the anthropomorphic gold foils (known as guldgubbar in Swedish) - the third biggest find of its kind in Swedish history. The team also found five bronze-cast heads, fragments of a vessel, as well as other bronze objects, Roman glass, gold spirals and Viking-age coins. 

As to whether the artefacts were left on purpose or abandoned, Henriksson cannot say, but added that it was turbulent times when the objects were used.

"There were masses of people moving around Europe, it was right after the fall of the west Roman empire and it was every tribe for itself. It affected all of Europe. But what we can say is that the vessels we found were used for ritual drinking and feasting, and were even sacrificial. The area may have been buried or it may have been deserted and left for good. Or it could have been a ritual burial site - we're still not really sure."

But the finds are of great importance, he added, stating that comparing the trove with other similar finds in southern Scandinavia may shed more light on the Iron Age in Sweden. 

"This is a unique opportunity to establish a cooperation of a kind that hasn't been possible before," Henriksson told The Local.

The artefacts will be on display in the Blekinge Museum in summer, with images of the finds to be uploaded to the website soon.

Oliver Gee

Follow Oliver on Twitter

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Swedish Honeymoon Killing
Honeymoon suspect seeks instant aquittal
Murder suspect Shrien Dewani. Photo: TT

Honeymoon suspect seeks instant aquittal

A British millionaire businessman, Shrien Dewani, has argued that he should be cleared of the honeymoon murder of his bride because South African prosecutors have failed to prove their case. READ  

Snow forecast for north as capital enjoys sun
Stockholmers enjoying the November weekend sun. Photo: The Local

Snow forecast for north as capital enjoys sun

The Swedish Meteorological Institute has issued a class one warning following snowstorms in northern Sweden, but there is better news for Stockholmers who enjoyed sunshine over the weekend and can expect more good weather towards the end of this week. READ  

'Racist' Black Pete party scrapped in Sweden
A festive parade involving Zwarte Piet helpers in the Netherlands. Photo: TT

'Racist' Black Pete party scrapped in Sweden

A Dutch club in Stockholm that was planning a festive party featuring Santa alongside a servant with a black painted face has shelved the idea following numerous complaints of racism. READ  

Ebola crisis
Swedish expert says Ebola risk has reduced
Many in Liberia have little but chlorine to protect themselves from Ebola. Photo:TT

Swedish expert says Ebola risk has reduced

A leading Swedish expert on global health has said that the threat of the Ebola virus has decreased and suggested that the battle against the epidemic is entering a new phase. READ  

Presented by Regus
Get your own office anywhere in the world

Get your own office anywhere in the world

Sweden’s startup scene is booming – making central office space in Stockholm and Gothenburg even harder to find. So where does a new small business set up shop? Two seasoned entrepreneurs share their secret with The Local. READ  

Submarine hunt
Three in four Swedes believe submarine 'proof'
An enlarged look at the mystery sighting of a suspected submarine in the Stockholm archipelago in October. Photo: TT

Three in four Swedes believe submarine 'proof'

A new survey has revealed that 75 percent of Swedes trust that the Swedish military did find enough evidence to prove that a foreign submarine was present in the Stockholm archipelago last month. The results contrast with a more sceptical public during previous submarine incidents in the 1980s. READ  

Thirty Swedes in Turkish resort bus crash
A resort in Antalya, close to where the crash happened. Photo: Shutterstock

Thirty Swedes in Turkish resort bus crash

Up to thirty Swedish tourists were caught up in an accident involving two buses near the resort of Antalya in Turkey on Sunday afternoon, with ten taken to hospital after the crash. READ  

Nursery burned down in southern Stockholm
A Swedish firefighter. Photo: TT

Nursery burned down in southern Stockholm

A fire has destroyed a preschool in southern Stockholm overnight, with firefighters unable to contain the flames because of heavy winds. READ  

My Swedish Career
'I'm spreading Japan's 'cute' culture in Sweden'
Carolynn Piittisjärvi (right) together with business partner Eva Dejmo in their pop up store. Photo: Private

'I'm spreading Japan's 'cute' culture in Sweden'

For this week’s My Swedish Career we meet American Carolynn Piittisjärvi, an entrepreneur who has already managed to turn several hobbies into Swedish businesses. She has just launched a store selling Japanese clothes, toys and stationary in the hope of spreading ‘kawaii’. READ  

Swede Stenson defends DP World Tour title
Photo: TT/AP

Swede Stenson defends DP World Tour title

Sweden's Henrik Stenson made two birdies on the final two holes to successfully defended his title at the $8 million DP World Tour Championship on Sunday by two shots. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Imagebank Sweden
Society
Decorating your home for Swedish Christmas
Gallery
People-watching: November 22nd - 23rd
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Family life in Stockholm
Society
What's on in Sweden: November 20th to 27th
Lifestyle
How to make Swedish mulled wine
Blog updates

21 November

Exclusive Interview with Abba’s Bjorn Ulvaeus (Stockholm in my American Heart) »

"Most of us will agree that actions speak louder than words. But when the two are..." READ »

 

21 November

Editor’s Blog, November 21st (The Local Sweden) »

"Hello from Stockholm, Our week started with reports another Russian plane had been spotted in Sweden’s airspace,..." READ »

 
 
 
National
How to boost your career in Skåne, Sweden's south
Lifestyle
How an Umeå museum is rewriting Swedish history
National
Timeline: Julian Assange sex allegations
Lifestyle
Five unique backpacker hostels in Stockholm
National
Bones show off Sweden's history
National
What new word are Swedes voting on?
National
Why African Swedes are angry about Santa's helper
National
Pine, tar, and tinder: flavours from the north
Gallery
Selfies, solidarity and Hillary Clinton: Stefan Löfven on tour
Gallery
People-watching: November 19th
Society
Why are international professionals leaving Sweden?
Business & Money
Meet the Swedes who made suits for The Hunger Games
Technology
'I'm among the first Swedes with a microchip'
National
What is Sweden doing about bird flu?
Gallery
Property of the week: Eriksberg
National
Vecka45: Sweden's most innovative week
Gallery
In Pictures: The clubs and loves of Sweden's Sven-Göran Eriksson
Society
What's On in Sweden: November 13th to 20th
Gallery
People-watching: November 16th
National
Driving (expats) home for Christmas?
Lifestyle
Make your own Swedish pea soup
Politics
"Totally unacceptable": Defence Minister on Stockholm submarine
Society
The A-Ö guide to making life in Sweden easier
National
How a Swedish party inspired a masterpiece
National
Seen the new Ace of Base yet?
National
Meet the Irish woman thundering into Swedish rock
Gallery
In Pictures: Ace of Base through the years
Society
Ten things you should never say to a Swede
Gallery
People-watching: November 12th
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
National
Opinion: 'We have to talk about Sweden's Isis fighters'
Business & Money
Price hike for new mortgages in Sweden
National
Toy store catalogues 'too white' in Sweden
National
Pirate Bay co-founder released from prison
National
Southern Sweden had 201 days of summer
Gallery
Sweden's ten most powerful people
Gallery
Property of the week: Mariestad
National
Introducing... Healthcare in Stockholm
National
What you need to know about Stockholm hospital bug epidemic
Sponsored Article
The best options for oversea transfers
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

802
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
aa-europe.org/sweden
The Local Spain is hiring!
The Local is seeking a new editor for our site in Spain to join our growing team of internationally-minded, driven, ambitious and clued-up journalists
Click here for the full job description