The Boeslunde Spirals: Around 2,000 Mysterious Bronze Age Gold Spirals Discovered in Denmark

The National Museum of Denmark has announced that a team of archaeologists has discovered a large of golden spirals—nearly 2,000—dating from the Nordic Bronze Age in Boeslunde, Denmark. The purpose of the Boeslunde Spirals are unknown. According to the National Museum of Denmark:

A photograph of the National Museum of Denmark's Bronze Age display, featuring the Trundholm Sun Chariot and various other Nordic Bronze Age items (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

[Archaeologists] do not know what they've been used for, and they have never seen them before in Denmark. The archaeologists at the Museum Zealand and the National Museum of Denmark are facing a little mystery, when they consider what they have just excavated.

Maybe the spirals have been attached to cords which have served as a small fringe on a hat or a parasol. Perhaps they have been braided into the hair or been embroidered on the suit. The fact is that we do not know, but I tend to believe they were part of a priest king’s costume or headwear, says [curator at the National Museum of Denmark] Flemming Kaul about the strange spirals.

The spirals were discovered in what is now a field in the small town of Boeslunde, located not far from the western coast of Zealand, Denmark. The objects were clustered together in what was once a leather-lined box (since decayed). This is not the first time the field has been excavated. According to the National Museum of Denmark's press release, "a couple years ago" amateur archaeologists discovered two large golden rings ("oath rings"—a practice that appears to have continued in the area until Christianization). Subsequently, the Museum Vestsjælland returned to the site for further excavations, resulting in the yield of golden spirals.

The area is rich in similar gold finds. As a result, archaeologists interpret the area as having been a holy location in the Bronze Age in Nordic Bronze Age religion, and subsequently the items found in the vicinity were probably votive offerings to beings—perhaps gods—in Nordic Bronze Age religion, forebear to North Germanic religion.

Outside of the National Museum of Denmark's rich Nordic Bronze Age exhibition at the National Museum of Denmark, the museum hosts a variety of original articles about Nordic Bronze Age finds on their website, which readers can browse here. 

* "Guldspiraler er en gåde for arkæologerne" — Original Press Release from the National Museum of Denmark (in Danish)
* "Gold spirals are a mystery to archaeologists" — English Language Press Release from the National Museum of Denmark