An amateur metal detector has made a discovery that experts think could change our understanding of Christianity in Denmark.
Dennis Fabricius Holm was enjoying an afternoon off work when he found a Birka crucifix pendant in a field near the town of Aunslev, Østfyn.
“I got off early on Friday, so I took just a few hours, I went around with my metal detector and then I came suddenly on something,” Mr Holm told DK.
“Since I cleared the mud and saw the jewellery, I have not been able to think of anything else.”
On posting the find to social media, other users encouraged him to take it to a museum.
Malene Refshauge Beck, curator and archaeologist at Østfyns Museum said: “It is an absolutely sensational discovery that is from the first half of the 900s [10th century].”
“There is found an almost identical figure in Sweden, which has been dated to just this period.”
However, this specimen is in especially good condition and one of the most well preserved Christian artefacts found in Denmark.
Discoveries that change the way you see the world
Discoveries that change the way you see the world
1/30 Million-year-old human footprints discovered
Million-year-old human footprints have been discovered on the beach as Happisburgh, Norfolk
2/30 The world's oldest face
Scientists discovered the world’s oldest face, which belongs to this 419 million-year-old fish - an ancient sea predator that might also re-write the history of our evolution from the seas
3/30 Discovery of the ancient forest
Ancient forest revealed by storms. The recent huge storms and gale force winds that have battered the coast of West Wales have stripped away much of the sand from stretches of the beach between Borth and Ynyslas. The disappearing sands have revealed ancients forests, with the remains of oak trees dating back to the Bronze Age, 6,000 years ago. The ancient remains are said by some to be the origins of the legend of ‚Cantre‚r Gwealod‚ , a mythical kingdom now submerged under the waters pif Cardigan Bay
4/30 Bowhead whale genome, linked to cancer resistance, DNA damage repair and increased longevity, mapped by scientists
In a UK-based study, scientists working together with scientists in Alaska, Denmark, Ireland, Spain and South Korea successfully mapped the genome of the bowhead whale - the longest-living mammal - identifying a number of genes that are linked to cancer resistance, DNA damage repair and increased longevity
5/30 Researchers develop 'imaginary meal' pill
An 'imaginary meal' pill called fexaramine has been developed by researchers at the Salk's Gene Expression Laboratory
6/30 Scientists prolong lifespan of flies
Scientists at the Institute of Cell Biology, in Switzerland, have successfully managed to prolong the lifespan of flies, activating a gene that destroys unhealthy cell
7/30 Green tea can help cure oral cancer
Green tea can help kill off cancerous cells, say researchers
8/30 Mars once had a large ocean covering a large portion of its northern hemisphere
Almost half of the northern hemisphere of Mars was once covered by a large ocean that held 20 million cubic kilometres of water: more than the Artic Ocean
9/30 Offices playing natural sounds can boost worker moods and improve cognitive abilities
Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute learned that offices which play natural sounds such as ocean waves, trees and bird calls can boost the moods of workers and improve their cognitive abilities, as well as providing privacy (by masking speech)
10/30 Impact glass may exist on Mars
Brown University researchers found that spectral signals indicate the existence of “impact glass” on the surface of Mars, with specific deposits conserved in craters
11/30 Fathers experience weight gain
Fathers have been found to experience weight gain and a rise in their body mass index (BMI), according to a research conducted by Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. The study, which followed over 10,000 men throughout a 20 year period, also revealed that the men who didn’t become fathers actually lost weight
12/30 The world's oldest skull
Divers Alberto Nava and Susan Bird discover the world's oldest skull found in an underwater cave in Mexico, believed to be the earliest trace of first Americans
13/30 Scientists create “intelligent” mice that do not experience fear or anxiety
Scientists participating in a joint University of Leeds and Mount Sinai Hospital study managed to alter a gene within mice; improving their intelligence and reducing their ability to feel anxious or fear. The discovery could prove instrumental in research into age-related cognitive decline, such as Alzheimer’s or schizophrenia
14/30 Paralysed man walks again
The ‘brain-computer interface’ system will be improved by developing an implantable version, say experts. A 26-year-old male who had suffered a spinal cord injury which had paralysed him from the waist down was given the ability to walk again by scientists, who rerouted brain waves to electrodes on his knees.The doctors responsible said that he was the first person with paraplegia caused by a spinal injury given the ability to walk without relying on manually controlled robotic limbs
15/30 Discovery of the medieval royal palaces
Archaeologists in southern England have discovered what may be one of the largest medieval royal palaces ever found – buried under the ground inside a vast prehistoric fortress at Old Sarum. The probable 12th century palace was discovered by archaeologists, using geophysical ground-penetrating ‘x-ray’ technology to map a long-vanished medieval city which has lain under grass on the site for more than 700 years
16/30 The world's rarest diamond
This rare diamond that survived a trip from deep within the Earth's interior confirmed that there is an ocean’s worth of water beneath the planet’s crust
17/30 Virtual reality can revolutionise healthcare
Cardiologists at the Institute of Cardiology in Poland have successfully used virtual reality to restore blood flow to a blocked artery, leading the way for it to revolutionise certain aspects of healthcare, in surgical procedures and during training. Using wearable virtual reality equipment, similar to that of Google Glass, developed specifically for the surgical procedure, doctor completed the difficult procedure
18/30 Puppies born by IVF in the US
After years of failed attempts, scientists at Cornell University successfully bred the world's first puppies born through IVF, allowing for research into the conservation of endangered breeds and protection of those that are at risk of disease
19/30 Cancer is caused by environmental factors
Research into the causes of cancer concluded that, on the whole, it is due to environmental factors, not, as was previously thought, “bad luck”
20/30 Fossil fight
'Astounding' fossil find from Montana revealing two dinosaurs locked in mortal combat
21/30 Fusion reactors could become economically viable
Researchers at Durham University and the Oxfordshire Culham Centre for Fusion Energy have found fusion reactors could become economically viable ways of generating electricity in just a few decades, telling politicians and policy makers to begin the process of planning for their introduction and the replacement of nuclear power stations. Analysis by these researchers has found that the costs associated with fusion power shows its feasibility, when compared with traditional fission reactors, generating electricity at a similar price
22/30 Discovery of the whale skeletons
Chilean and Smithsonian paleontologists study several fossil whale skeletons at Cerro Ballena, next to the Pan-American Highway in the Atacama Region of Chile
23/30 Discovery of The Dead Sea Scrolls
The Dead Sea Scrolls are almost 1,000 biblical manuscripts discovered in the decade after the Second World War in what is now the West Bank. The texts, mostly written on parchment but also on papyrus and bronze, are the earliest surviving copies of biblical and extra-biblical documents known to be in existence, dating over a 700-year period around the birth of Jesus. The ancient Jewish sect the Essenes is supposed to have authored the scrolls, written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, although no conclusive proof has been found to this effect
24/30 Complete mammoth skeleton discovered
The first complete mammoth skeleton to be found in France for more than a century was uncovered in a gravel pit on the banks of the Marne, 30 miles north-east of Paris. Picture shows experts at work making a silicon cast of the mammoth's tusk
25/30 Byzantine mosaic discovered
Plans for a walkway at the centre of the furious dispute over Jerusalem's holiest site were delayed by the discovery of a Byzantine mosaic
26/30 Neolithic 'lost avenue' - prehistoric stone circle discovered
The discovery of a Neolithic 'lost avenue' was described as one of the most important finds of the last century. Since the 1700s, archeologists and historians have argued over the existence of the huge sarsen stones, which were unearthed at the site of the world's biggest prehistoric stone circle at Avebury in Wiltshire
27/30 Ancient gold found near Stonehenge
Gold fitting for a dagger sheath (around 1900 BC.) found near Stonehenge
28/30 The Rosetta Stone discovery
The Rosetta Stone is a basalt slab inscribed with a decree of pharaoh Ptolemy Epiphanes (205-180 BC) in three languages, Greek, Hieroglyphic and Demotic script. Discovered near Rosetta in Egypt
29/30 We are made from stardust
In 1957, a paper was published which said we are all made of stardust. Well, not quite that, but almost. Four scientists of the University of Cambridge, Fred Hoyle, William Fowler and Margaret and Geoffrey Burbidge, had conducted extensive research into stellar nucleosynthesis, the theory that all elements are created in the oldest chemical factories in the universe - stars. This paper, called ‘Synthesis of the Elements in Stars’, but better known as B2FH because of the initials of its authors, was at odds with the theory common at the time that all the elements were synthesised during the Big Bang. B2FH argued that when a star ages and dies it will enrich the interstellar medium with heavier elements, from which new stars - and, presumably, we - are formed
30/30 Optical fibres discovery
The internet is a truly incredibly thing, but we all hate it when it works too slowly. That’s where optical fibres come in. Made of a high quality extruded glass called silica, they guide light through a process of refraction, and in doing so are able to transmit bandwidths at a remarkably high speed and over remarkably long distances. As such, they are used in telecommunications and computer networking to speed up internet connections, able to do so due to the fact that the total internal refraction of light means very little data is lost. And the best thing about optical fibres is when at Imperial College London they were first demonstrated to be able to ‘bend’ light by Harold Hopkins and Narinder Kapany, dubbed the ‘founding father of fibre optics’
Weighing just 13.2 grams and 4.1cm in length, the figure is made of finely articulated goldthreads and tiny fillagree pellets.
It is smooth on the reverse side but has a small eye at the top for a chain.
It was probably worn by a Viking woman.
The dating of the crucifix, estimated at being from 900 – 950AD, is significant because it would indicate Danes embraced Christianity earlier than previously thought.
At the moment, the Jelling Stones - two large runestones erected in 965AD in Jutland - are thought to be the oldest known representation of Jesus on a cross in Denmark.
The stones, in the town of Jelling, commemorate Harald Bluetooth’s conversion of the Danes to Christianity.
Christian missionaries had been present in the country for around two hundred years before then, but had failed to convert the Vikings.
However, pressures from Christian trade partners to convert, and in particular, influence from the Kingdom of Germany to the south, meant that most Danes were Christian by the end of the Viking period in 1050.
“The figure can therefore help to advance the time when one considers that the Danes really were Christians,” said Ms Beck.
“Simply because one can say that the person who carried it here no doubt embraced the Christian faith.”
The impact of the find is such that the historical record of the country will need to be adjusted.
“This is a subject that certainly will have to appear in the history books in the future,” said Ms Beck.
“In recent years there has been more and more signs that Christianity was widespread earlier than previously thought - and here the clearest evidence so far.”
And as for the amateur archaeologist?
“I’ve hardly slept!” Mr Holm said to TV2 / Fyn.
“It has been very overwhelming. I have not yet grasped that find’s influence on Denmark's history.
“It is hard to comprehend.”Reuse content