HomeUS News updateDutch historian discovers medieval treasure using metal detector

Dutch historian discovers medieval treasure using metal detector

A Dutch historian found a unique 1,000-year-old medieval gold treasure, including four golden ear pendants, two bars of gold leaf and 39 silver coins, the Dutch National Museum of Antiquities announced on Thursday.

Lorenzo Ruijer, 27, who told Reuters he has been treasure hunting since the age of 10, discovered the treasure in the small northern town of Hoogwood in 2021 using a metal detector.

Gold earring details with filigree embellishments,
Detail of gold earring with filigree decoration from 1000–1050 AD, found at Hogwood, Netherlands. Archeology West-FrieslandFleur Shinning / Archeology West-Friesland

“Discovering something this valuable was so special, I can’t really describe it. I never expected a find like this”, Ruijer said, adding that keeping it a secret for two years was difficult.

But experts at the National Museum of Antiquities needed time to clean, examine and date the treasure’s items and have now found that the youngest coin may date from around 1250, leading them to believe the treasure was was then buried.

Forty-nine silver coins found at Hogwood
Twenty-nine silver coins were found at Hoogwood in the Netherlands.Fleur Shinning / Archeology West-Friesland

By the time the jewels were already two centuries old, the museum said, it must have already been “an expensive and cherished possession”.

The museum also said, “Gold jewelery from the High Middle Ages is extremely rare in the Netherlands.”

While it will remain a mystery as to why exactly the treasure was buried, the museum reports that a war broke out between the Dutch regions of West Friesland and Holland in the mid-13th century, with Hoogwood being the epicentre.

Hoogwood's Treasure Hunt.
Hoogwood’s Treasure Hunt. Fleur Shinning / Archeology West-Friesland

Lorenzo said it is possible that someone powerful at the time buried the valuables as a way of protecting them and hoped to dig them up once they were safe again.

Given its archaeological importance, the treasure was loaned to the museum which would display it, but it would remain the official property of the discoverer, Lorenzo Ruijer.



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