Golden Sacrifices


September/October 2013

Gold figurines


During the past four years, on the Danish island of Bornholm, archaeologists and amateurs have uncovered a collection of remarkable gold figurines dating from the sixth or seventh century A.D. According to Bornholm Museum archaeologist René Laursen, the figurines represent deities and were sacrificed with wishes for health, fertility, or a good harvest. “They are very unusual,” says Laursen. “Although we know of a few figurines from Scandinavia, they are usually bronze.” In addition to many silver, bronze, and iron artifacts, 24 gold foil figurines have also been uncovered at the site—called Smørenge, or “Butter Meadows”—probably all offerings at one or more sacred springs, or perhaps even a temple.