Stunning 5th Century Bohemian Jewelry Discovered in Czech Republic
Archaeologists from the Czech Republic’s Rakovník Museum have announced the discovery of a rare Bohemian gold ring and clasp or buckle dating back to the 5th century. Unearthed last summer by amateur metal detectorists working near the west Bohemian town of Rakovník, the stunning set of jewelry is ablaze with exotic precious stones.
According to experts from the Sorbonne in Paris, who helped the Czech archaeologists researching the artifacts, the garnets and almandines probably originally came from India or Sri Lanka. For this reason, the team of archaeologists have announced that the Migration Period ring is among “the most unique of its kind in Europe.”
Amateur metal detectorists found the stash of 5th century Bohemian jewelry, including a gold ring, a clasp or buckle and other items. (Central Bohemia Region - Regional Authority)
Was the Bohemian Gold Ring Built for a Royal Finger?
The researchers have not disclosed the exact location of their startling gold find, suspecting that more loot may remain buried nearby. In fact, this April a team of Rakovník Museum archaeologists returned to the site and discovered a gold-plated horse halter dating back to the late 6th century. This was uncovered just 2 kilometers (1.23 miles) from where the Bohemian gold ring and buckle were unearthed.
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Scientists analyzing the Bohemian gold ring, found that the garnets and almandines probably came from India or Sri Lanka. (Central Bohemia Region - Regional Authority)
According to a report on Archaeology News Network, the discovery was only announced this week because for almost a year the team of archaeologists have been studying the rare Bohemian artifacts. Among the tests performed were X-ray scans, computer tomography, microscopes and spectrometers.
Their investigations have led them to conclude that the ring is “absolutely extraordinary.” Thanks to similarities with other discoveries, such as the objects from the tomb of the Frankish king Childeric I in Belgium, who died in 481 AD, scientists have also been able to precisely date the ring.
The artifacts were found buried near the west Bohemian town of Rakovník in the Czech Republic. (Central Bohemia Region - Regional Authority)
Royal Treasure Buried on a Prehistoric Track
Kateřina Blažková, an archaeologist from the Rakovník Museum, said the discovery is “so unique” because the ring is in one piece, and is “nearly as good as new.” The Bohemian gold ring was discovered along with a clasp or buckle, broken into three pieces. “They must have belonged to a member of the ruling class,” explained Blažková.
Furthermore, Blažková concluded that “it is now absolutely clear that the treasure was buried in the vicinity of a road.” But not just any medieval road. Archaeologists have gathered evidence suggesting this track was functional in the prehistoric era and rebuilt in the 5th century.
A people's migration specialist from Charles University, Jaroslav Jiřík supports Blažková’s claim that the artifacts have a noble heritage, explained RemonNews. Jiřík argued that the owner of the jewelry was most probably of “aristocratic origin.”
The researcher added that only five other ensembles from contemporary Europe have ever been discovered, and that they always belonged to “a person of the highest social rank, someone really significant.” Jiřík went so far as to say the owner was possibly an ambassador “or a king,” or someone close to a king.
The items, including this ornate buckle, were the possessions of a high rank, if not the highest rank individual. (Central Bohemia Region - Regional Authority)
Understanding How the Bohemian Jewelry Got There
Once the site has been metal detected in its entirety, and after further tests are performed on the buckle and ring, they will both be exhibited at the Museum of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk in Rakovník, Czech Republic, next summer. But before we sign off, there is one remaining question that we have not yet addressed. How did a king’s finger ring get to be buried beside a prehistoric track for over 1,500 years, forgotten until 2020?
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The answer to this question is not entirely clear, but Blažková, says the ring was probably “part of a loot.” Following this line of thought, she hypothesized that someone probably carried the loot across the Rakovník region, divided it up here and then buried part of it where it was discovered in the Czech Republic.
Blažková added that archaeologists regularly find stolen goods at 5th and 6th century Migration Period sites, believing that the two prime reasons as to why loot was left unclaimed is related to the culprit either being struck down by disease, or perhaps changes in the terrain making the hiding spot unfindable.
Top image: 5th century Bohemian gold ring. Source: Central Bohemia Region - Regional Authority
By Ashley Cowie