'A great tragedy': Viking treasure hoard soon up for auction in Sweden

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'A great tragedy': Viking treasure hoard soon up for auction in Sweden
An archive photo of the Everlöv Hoard when it was put on display in Lund in 1986. Photo: Historical Museum at Lund University

A Viking hoard comprising 912 coins and 40 silver items is to be sold at auction in Sweden to the disappointment of researchers, who are calling for laws to be changed to prevent similar sales in future.



Birgitta Hårdh, a professor emeritus of archaeology, said that such treasures should be placed in public ownership to prevent finders from splitting them up and selling them on the market.  

"The auction is a great tragedy, it belongs to the state and should not be sold, in my view. It would be very, very tragic if the treasure were to be split up," Hårdh, who organised an exhibition of the collection at Lund University's Historical Museum, told the HD and Sydsvenskan newspapers. 

The items are part of the so-called Everlöv Hoard, and the youngest coin has been dated to 1018, placing it in the Viking era. The oldest coin in the hoard dates back to the 800s. At the end of April, the coins will be put on sale in an auction.


The coin collection, which has never been in the Swedish National Heritage Board's possession, was found in the 1980s inside a chiffonier, a type of wooden furniture similar to a sideboard.

A relative of the current owner of the hoard had placed the items in the chiffonier which had then been passed down through the generations to different members of the family.

Under the Swedish Historic Environment Law or kulturmiljölagen, prehistoric discoveries must be reported to the County Administrative Board (Länsstyrelse).

However, the law is unclear when it comes to items discovered indoors - which is why researches are now calling for the law to be changed. 


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