Tuned to Bluetooth treasure

Central Station | 17 Apr 2018

A 13-year-old boy and an amateur archeologist have struck treasure that may have been stashed by Viking king Harald Bluetooth, who took Christianity to Denmark.

Rene Schoen and student Luca Malaschnitschenko were using metal detectors in January on northern Germany island Ruegen when they found what looked like a lump of aluminum. But close inspection revealed it was silver.

A dig covering 400 square meters that started at the weekend has quickly uncovered a trove linked to Harald, who reigned from around 958 to 986. Necklaces, pearls, brooches, a Thor's hammer, rings and 600 chipped coins were found, with many from Bluetooth's era. The oldest coin is a Damascus dirham dating to 714 and the most recent a 983 penny.

The thinking is that the treasure was buried in the 980s, when Bluetooth was fleeing to Pomerania, where he died in 987. He had unified Denmark, turning his back on old Norse religion and introducing Christianity but had to flee to Pomerania after a rebellion led by son Sven Gabelbart.

Bluetooth's legacy endures in smartphones and laptops. The wireless Bluetooth technology is named for him. Its symbol of two Runes spells out his initials, RB.

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