Last month, a Swedish card maker came across a whole pile of well-preserved Bronze Age jewelry.
Thomas Carlson was walking in a forest near Gothenburg when the glitter of a bronze necklace caught his eye.
Archaeologists sent to the site have found a total of 50 objects – including bronze necklaces, rings and ribbons – more than 2,500 years old.
They believe that the jewelry was deliberately placed there as a contribution of the gods.
Such sacred sites are usually found in rivers and streams rather than in the forest, which makes the discovery even more unique.
Jewelry from a piece of Bronze Age objects found outside Alingsas, Sweden. Orienteering enthusiast Thomas Carlson updated a map in the woods when the glow of one of the pieces caught his attention
Carlson, a cartographer and orienteering enthusiast, first discovered a bronze necklace and several other objects while walking in a forest near Alingsas in western Sweden.
Orienteering is a competitive sport in which participants move through the desert with the help of a map and compass, trying to reach certain checkpoints faster than their rivals.
Carlson happened to the items when he updated the map last month and initially thought they were reproductions because they were in such good condition.
“It looked like metal trash,” he said. Is the lamp here? I thought at first. Everything looked so new, I thought they were fake.
Pictured: Part of a necklace found in the woods. Experts believe the objects were placed in a stone crevice, but were later excavated by animals.
Archaeologists have uncovered a total of 50 jewels and other artifacts, most of which would have belonged to a woman of high social status in the Bronze Age. Sweden
Carlson realized that these were authentic antiquities and informed the authorities, who sent a team from the University of Gothenburg and the Administration for Cultural Development to carry out an appropriate archaeological study.
They found 50 pieces of bronze in all, including extremely well-preserved necklaces, leg rings, chains, buckles and clothing pins.
They also found a hollow ax and a type of horse spur previously found only in neighboring Denmark.
Experts date the objects from 750 to 500 BC, the last part of the Northern Bronze Age.
During this era, the Scandinavian countries imported jewelry and fine metals from Central and Western Europe and became famous for their crafts and jewelry.
“Most of the finds are made up of bronze objects that may be associated with a woman of high status from the Bronze Age,” said Johann Ling, an archaeologist at the University of Gothenburg.
Archaeologists believe that this is an ankle ring made of bone. Other finds include rings, buckles and pins to hold clothes
The trail was discovered in Alingsas, Sweden, about 30 miles from Gothenburg
“They were used to decorate various parts of the body, such as necklaces, bracelets and ankle bracelets, but there are also large needles and eyelets used to decorate and hold various pieces of clothing, probably made of wool.”
Experts believe that the site is a “depot find”, where the items are placed intentionally, not accidentally dropped.
It looked as if the objects were hidden in crevices between stones, but were later excavated by wild animals.
It was not uncommon for valuables to be given as ritual offerings to the gods, but such gifts are usually found in rivers and streams, according to the Heritage Daily, rather than in the dense forest.
The find is one of the “most spectacular and largest cash finds” from the Bronze Age in Sweden, according to a statement from the county’s administrative council.
Seekers of such antiques in Sweden are usually entitled to a fee.
Carlson told the BBC that the prize “would be a nice bonus, but it’s not very important to me.”
“It’s fun to be part of the study of history,” he said. “We know so little about that era because there are no written sources.”