This time in Denmark:

birka crucifix
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.

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.

One of the rune stones at Jelling, Jutland. A figure with arms outstretched as if on a crucifix can be seen.

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.”

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  1. grayjohn says:

    That looks more like a Kachina doll, or a bird man, not a crucifix

  2. bogsidebunny says:

    I bet the finder gets no more than a “Gee thanks” and the item is confiscated by the Danish government.

  3. Steamboat McGoo says:

    “…it would indicate Danes embraced Christianity earlier than previously thought.”

    Really? How do they know the Dane/Viking didn’t throw it away in the mud – where it was found – as disgusting & blasphemous? Or just steal it from a formerly-alive-and-screaming Priest/nobleman/woman Christian and then lose it?

  4. Leonard Jones says:

    Great point grayjohn. So much of the shit like this is open to interpretation.
    from what I have read on paleontology, there is not one single complete
    fossil of any species of mega fauna. All of those beautiful museum
    exhibits are based on extrapolations, drawn from incomplete fragments.

    I have been calling bullshit on the theory these animals were big birds
    for decades. Just because reptiles and Avian’s share hollow bone structures
    and Cloaca, it does not mean they are even related, let alone from the
    same family. This of course, is assuming that their assumptions about
    the size, appearances and mass of the dinosaurs is correct.

    Nature will dictate the design of bird bones because they have to be light
    enough to fly. Nature will also dictate the design of dinosaur bones because
    they have to be light enough to walk. Between the bones and the type
    of reproductive organs, lizards have nothing in common each other.

    I also question the comet impact theory of the extinction. These animals
    were down to a paltry 13 species before the event occurred. and even that
    has been interpreted by measuring a carbon layer in the fossil record.

    What if instead of Lucy being the missing link, in the transition of ape to
    man, the event occurred more recently? What if Cro Mangon was
    the missing link instead of a 2 million year old monkey fragment?
    Once you commit a confirmation bias, you will never find the answer
    because you blow right past the place and time by millions of years,
    and the difference in place the distance between southern Africa
    vs. western Europe.

    For all we know, cave man fertility symbols were the hardened impressions
    of some dogs dick in hardened clay. None of this shit is settled!

  5. Eskyman says:

    Denmark may have been Christian at one time, and this artifact may reflect that or it may not.

    In the not very far distant future, though, Denmark will be Muslim, unless they start taking immediate action to prevent that happening. Doesn’t look like they will, so goodbye Denmark. Whatever happened to the Vikings?

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