The Norwegian man initially believed his metal detector was reacting to chocolate coins buried in the ground.
It turned out to be 10 gold pearls, three rings, and nine pendants, all of which could have been worn as flashy jewelry 1,500 years ago.
Erlend Bore, 51, made the extraordinary discovery this summer on the southern island of Rennesoey, close to the town of Stavanger.
After his doctor advised him to get up instead of lying on the couch, Bore purchased his first metal detector earlier this year as a hobby. Finding “so much gold at the same time is extremely unusual,” according to Ole Madsen, director of the Archaeological Museum at the University of Stavanger.
Bore started exploring the rugged island with his metal detector in August.
He initially discovered some scrap, according to a statement from the university, but afterwards discovered something that was “completely unreal—the treasure weighing slightly more than 100 grams (3.5 oz).
Older than 1650 coins and items dating back before 1537 are regarded as state property under Norwegian law and must be returned.
The gold pendants, also known as bracteates, are flat, thin, single-sided gold medals that date to approximately A.D., according to associate professor Hkon Reiersen from the museum.
During the so-called Migration Period in Norway, which spans from 400 to roughly 550, there was significant European immigration.
According to Reiersen, the pendants and gold pearls were part of “a very showy necklace” worn by the most influential members of society.
The necklace had been crafted by expert jewelers.
He continued, “In Norway, no similar discovery has been made since the 19th century, and it is also a very unusual discovery in a Scandinavian context.
Professor Sigmund Oehrl, a specialist on such pendants at the same museum, estimated that to date, 1,000 golden bracteates had been discovered in Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.
He claimed that the pendants’ symbols typically depict the Norse god Odin mending his son’s ailing horse.
Its slumped posture and twisted legs show that it is injured,” Oehrl said of the Rennesoey pieces, where the horse’s tongue hangs out on the gold pendants.
“The horse symbol represented illness and distress, but at the same time, hope for healing and new life,” he continued.
The item will be on display at the Archaeological Museum in Stavanger, which is roughly 200 miles (300 kilometers) southwest of Oslo.