A Bronze Age crowd filled with fine jewelry was discovered in Sweden in early April when a local man investigated what he thought was a piece of scrap sticking out from under a pile of rocks in a hilly, wooded area.
Tomas Karlsson did an outdoor navigation activity called orienteering, when he uncovered the hustle and bustle that lies just outside Alingsås municipality in southern Sweden. He quickly realized that the metal was not scrap – it was old bronze jewelry that had since turned green. It appeared that a wild animal had recently dug up some pieces and revealed the metal, so Karlsson contacted the local authorities, who told archaeologists about the site, according to Swedish Radio, Sweden̵
“It is one of the greatest treasures we have ever excavated from the late Bronze Age in Sweden,” project manager Johan Ling, professor of archeology at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, told WordsSideKick.com. “And actually [they’re] also very spectacular bronzes and very well preserved bronzes. “
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The entire treasure has about 50 artifacts, and approx. 80% of the objects appear to be associated with a high-status woman (or women) from the late Bronze Age about 2,700 to 2,500 years ago, judging by the style of the objects, Ling said. The team is currently performing carbon dating on charcoal pieces from the sediment where the treasure was found, he added.
The many treasures that were discovered include necklaces, bronze spirals, necklaces, bracelets, pins and ankle rings as well as the head of an ax. “The interesting thing is [the hoard objects] are not very common in Scandinavia, although they are common in northern Poland and northern Germany, “indicating the existence of a” strong trade network, “Ling said.
However, this crowd is not part of a human funeral. Instead, it is a collection of high-status objects that were purposefully buried, Ling said. It is possible that in the Bronze Age, people in this region performed ceremonies similar to potlatch, a custom practiced by indigenous groups such as Haida and Tlingit in the Pacific Ocean northwest of the United States and Canada, Ling said. Although potlatch customs vary across the Northwest Pacific, they generally involve a lavish ceremonial celebration, often with dancing and singing, in which people give away or destroy parts of their wealth to show their superior generosity and improve their social status, according to The Canadian Encyclopedia.
This buried Bronze Age crowd is probably “a self-investment, it is a manifestation of power, as these elites do, and shows that ‘We can afford [this]”We have this ability, you do not have this,” said Ling.[They] thought it showed their power by offering their profits, so to speak. “
It is also possible that the treasure was buried in parallel with a person at another location, but archaeologists have not yet found a grave, he said. In this scenario, the treasure may be buried as a type of potlatch as well as a way to help the deceased in the afterlife, he said.
It is unlikely that the treasure was buried for storage or to hide it from enemies, Ling noted.
In the Bronze Age, people in what is now Sweden were farmers and agropastoralists, which means they had a mix of agriculture and livestock. Profits were often invested in trade, as it was also a well-known maritime society, “because we import all metals in Scandinavia in that phase, both copper and tin, and bronze is made of 90% copper and 10% tin, “said Ling. The copper came from the British Isles, the Iberian Peninsula and Central Europe, for example, he noted.
Ling and his colleagues plan to analyze the tax further. Its peculiar location may be a hint that there are treasures buried in similar places, he said.
“It was found in a very sloppy, hilly area. I can tell you I would have passed that find and that collection of stones a thousand times [without looking there]”Ling said.” But now we have a new pattern that we must follow. There could be many more of these that we have not yet been able to register. “
Originally published on WordsSideKick.com.