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Gold treasure

Rijksmuseum van Oudheden

Rijksmuseum van Oudheden

In 1866, during levelling work on a dwelling-mound near the Frisian village of Wieuwerd, a small vessel was found containing numerous gold objects and a disk of white earthenware. The hoard must have been buried there around 630 A.D. On the one hand it comprises original jewelry and on the other hand coins that were reworked into ornaments. In all, 37 ornaments were found, including a foot plate belonging to a large fibula, decorated with gold thread filigree.
Other striking items are two pendants with semi-precious stones, two kidneyshaped pendants with filigree decoration, two rings and three bracteates, i.e. coin plaquesminted on one side only in a decorative frame. Two of these have a face depicted on them, the third features a snake motif. The coins reworked into pendants were minted in Constantinople, Ravenna, Vibiers, Arles, Marseille, Sevilla and Maastricht. Possibly, a few of the other ornaments were made of re-used coins.
Together with a few other finds in Friesland, the Wieuwerd hoard indicates that the Westergo area harboured an elite. This Frisian aristocracy ruled the dwelling mound area. They were in contact with the Franks in the South- and Central Netherlands. In the Early Middle Ages the Frisians could plot their own course for quite a long time. At no other place in the Netherlands has the soil yielded such a large amount of gold as in Westergo.

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