Record-breaking “finder’s salary”: 200,000 NOKIf you come upon a particularly valuable and old object, you may be able to receive a finder’s salary. The Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage has paid as much as 200,000 NOK for a finder’s salary – a record in Norway. This sum was paid for the discovery of gold rings from the Iron Age. They were found using a metal detector in Skaun in Trøndelag. The money was divided between the rings’ discoverer and the landowner.
Criminal to keep archological findsIf you find, for example, a Viking sword, take it home, and keep it, you risk serious punishment. There are clear rules for what to do – and what not to do – for such finds. Cultural artifacts, monuments, and sites from Antiquity and the Middle Ages (that is, through the year 1537 AD), are considered state property. The same applies to coins predating the year 1650 and any Sámi artifacts, monuments, and sites over 100 years old. Such finds are required to be reported and handed in under the Cultural Heritage Act. If you decide to keep a historic cultural find, you can face fines and/or imprisonment for up to one year. Under particularly serious circumstances, prison sentences can last up to two years. “Fortunately, our experience is that most people want to be honest, and some metal detector searchers have also collaborated with the government during archaeological excavations,” Aas said.
It is becoming increasingly popular to go on a treasure hunt with a metal detector for archaeological treasures. The Cultural History Museum at the University of Oslo receives many of these findings. Photo: Fredrik Hagen / NTB
Sharp increase in the last ten years
Five university museums in Norway receive finds from both private individuals and professional excavations. Among these is the Museum of Cultural History at the University of Oslo (UiO).
Archaeologist and professor Frode Iversen from UiO explained that private discoveries using metal search account for most of what is submitted. In the last ten years, it has taken off completely, he said.
“We now get so many findings that we do not really know what to do with everything,” Iversen told NTB.
There are still large amounts of preserved objects from ancient times under the ground around Norway, according to Iversen. In particular, one can find objects in areas where there are imprints from houses from the Iron Age, as well as old rubbish pits or cooking pits.
“It is a very special feeling to find an ax that no one has held for over 10,000 years,” Iversen said.
The “Holy Grail”
All finds play a small role in increasing our modern-day understanding of the past. At the same time, new, exciting methods are constantly being developed to analyze the findings, Iversen explained.
“Therefore, it is not always a question of finding new things. It is just as much a question of re-analyzing old material. It’s amazing how much information you can get out of a skeleton these days,” he said.
Iversen finds it difficult to answer what “the Holy Grail” for archaeologists is, but interpreting ancient rock carvings would be huge, he believes.
“We do not fully understand the stories behind the motives. At this time, there was no known written language – runes come later. A kind of “code-breaker” for petroglyphs would be fantastic, but such a thing does not exist at this time,” he said.
Source: ©️ NTB Scanpix / #NorwayTodayTravel