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Rookie treasure hunter finds trove of 1,500-year-old pre-Viking gold

A rookie treasure hunter using his new metal detector for the very first time has discovered one of the largest ever hauls of pre-Viking gold.

The huge treasure haul, including gold medallions as big as saucers, had laid hidden for 1,500 years until rookie Ole Ginnerup Schytz stumbled across it by "pure luck".

Ole had reportedly only been out with his metal detector for a few hours when he heard the gizmo beep in a field owned by one of his former classmates in Denmark.

The man reportedly pushed back a bit of soil and was surprised to feel a piece of metal between his fingers.

"It was full of smashes and mud," he told Danish broadcaster TV2.

"I had no idea about it, so the only thing I could think of was that it looked like the lid on a can of sour herring."

22 precious gold objects were discovered as the man kept digging and weighed almost 1kg (2.2lbs), The Scottish Sun reports.

Archaeologists took over from the rookie and excavated the surrounding site to discover that the treasure was buried under a longhouse by a clan chief in the sixth century.

It is one of the largest and most important finds in Danish history, experts claim.

But humble Ole said his find was "the epitome of pure luck".

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He said: "Denmark is 43,000 square kilometers, and then I happen to choose to put the detector exactly where this find was."

The trove included ancient medallions called bracteates, immaculately decorated with magic symbols and runes.

Experts say women wore them for protection as it was then believed that gold came from the sun.

One discovered large medallion shows the god Odin, which is understood to be inspired by Roman jewellery that celebrated emperors as gods.

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Another shows the fourth century Roman emperor Constantine.

Archaeologists say that the discovery provides invaluable clues into how Norse mythology arose from Roman religion and art.

Experts have claimed the treasure was buried by a great chief and proved the area was a centre of power with trade links to the Roman empire.

"Only one member of society's absolute top has been able to collect a treasure like the one found here," said Mads Ravn, research director of Vejle Museums.

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"There was nothing that could make us predict that an unprecedented warlord or great man lived here, long before the kingdom of Denmark arose in the following centuries."

He added: "It is the symbolism represented on these objects that makes them unique, more than the quantity found.

"(They) contain many symbols, some of which are still unknown to us, which will enable us to broaden our knowledge of the men of this period."

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