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02.12.2020

Gold cross, Aunslev

An unusual Viking crucifixion pendant was discovered in the Danish field by an amateur metal detector two weeks before Easter. A small gold piece, created in the form of a man with outstretched arms, reminds the image of Christ on the cross.

It is the oldest crucifixion in Denmark. The pendant, dating back to the first half of the 10th century, is evidence of early Christianity in Denmark, according to experts at the Viking Museum, located in Ladby, where the crucifixion is currently kept.

The museum says it is older than the runic stone Harald Bluetooth in Jelling. The stones in Jelling have a figure on a cross as a sign of respect for the conversion of the Danes to Christianity by Harald Bluetooth. Until now, the large runic stones belonged to the year 965 AD. This was believed to be the earliest image of Jesus on the cross in Denmark.

The precious object was discovered by Dennis Fabrizius Holm in the fields near the church village of Aunslev on the Danish island of Fun. It is very fortunate that such a small jewelry piece has stood on Earth for the last 1100 years.

The figure is only 1.6 inches high and weighs about 0.45 ounces. If the back side is flat, the face is made of finely joined gold threads and small filigree pellets. At the top is a small lug to attach the chain.

The museum claims that it looks like a gilded silver cross, which was discovered in 1879 in Birk, near Stockholm in Sweden. It was in the female grave of the Viking Age. This silver cross dates from the first half of X century. However, the cross of Aunslev - the first Danish sample, depicted in full.

Most likely, it was worn by a Viking woman. It has not yet been decided whether the cross should indicate that she was a Christian, or just part of the Pagan Viking style.

According to Swedish archaeologist Martin Rundkvist, who was the first to announce the discovery on his blog, crucifixions are too similar to have been created by more than one or two people.

The first crucifixion was found in Birk, near Stockholm. But the second, third and fourth were discovered near Hedebyo, Denmark. Probably, all of them were made here.

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