Dutch 27-Year-Old Finds 1000-Year-Old Medieval Treasure Using Metal Detector

​Hoogwoud Treasure – Rijksmuseum Van Oudheden – CC 0

A young man in The Netherlands recently fulfilled what seemed to be his destiny by finding an “extremely rare” hoard of gold jewelry from the High Middle Ages.

An avid metal detective since the age of 10, the 27-year-old is all grown up and now a professional historian.

Discovered in Hoogwoud back in 2021, Lorenzo Ruijter said it’s been hard to keep it a secret for 2 years while the National Museum of Antiquities cleaned, dated, and identified the objects.

It consists of four decorated gold pendant earrings shaped like crescent moons, along with two pieces of gold leaf that fit together, and 39 small silver coins which date the treasure back to the years 1,000-1,250 CE.

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“It was very special discovering something this valuable, I can’t really describe it. I never expected to discover anything like this”, Ruijter told Reuters.

Reconstruction of the Hoogwoud Treasure – Rijksmuseum Van Oudheden – CC 0

“The 39 small silver pennies, as the coins are called, give a clue to the date when the treasure find was buried: in, or shortly after 1248,” the museum stated in a translated press release. “Small pieces of textile found with the pennies indicate that they were wrapped in a cloth or bag.”

“These are coins from the Diocese of Utrecht, from various counties (Holland, Guelders, and Cleves,) and from the German Empire. The youngest copies were struck in 1247 or 1248, under William II as king of the Holy Roman Empire.”

The jewelry however is around 200 years older, with the museum saying that it must have been a cherished possession. Northern Europe is rich in silver mines, but gold was much rarer at the time.

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A serious civil war between the counties of West Friesland and Holland was ongoing at the time the treasure was buried, with Hoogwoud being the epicenter of it all. The Dutch count and national figure Willem II died at Hoogwoud during the war, making the treasure potentially one of national significance.

It’s currently on loan for a Rijksmuseum exhibition called “Year 1,000,” after which it will return to the possession of Mr. Ruijter, a safe pair of hands no doubt.

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