A Turkish Lake Holds Secrets Of An Ancient Kingdom Waiting To Be Discovered

Past civilizations have left behind monuments and artifacts that now serve as clues that tell us more about the way they lived and what was important to them. These artifacts can show up in the most unlikely places— even at the bottom of a 600,000-year-old lake.

Keep reading to find out what archeologists found under those murky waters and why it was such an important discovery. It proves there’s plenty of mystery on this planet still waiting to be uncovered today.

The Waters Of Lake Van

lake-van-historical-discovery-01
Ali Ihsan Ozturk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

There is a gorgeous lake in present-day Turkey called Lake Van that is known for its stunning turquoise water. People have been coming to the lake for decades to admire the majesty of nature. The lake is located right next to an impressively tall mountain, lush green foliage, and an ancient church that sits on the edge of a cliff.

In this spot, architecture and nature blend to create a landscape that’s part man-made and part divinely inspired.

A Volcanic Eruption

Screen-Shot-2019-01-03-at-17.10.24
Photo Credit: natgeo

Back in ancient times, a volcano erupted and the flow of lava ended up blocking Lake Van’s outlet. This lake is at a really high altitude: 5,380 feet above sea level. Most water would freeze at that altitude, but Lake Van is salty enough that it stays fluid, even when there’s snow all around it.

Could it be that whatever is at the bottom of this lake ended up there because of the volcano?

A Rising Tide

lake-van-historical-discovery-02
Ali Ihsan Ozturk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Lake Van was formed over 600,000 years ago. As you can imagine, the Earth looked quite different in those times. The water levels of this lake have risen since the lake was first formed.

It’s entirely possible that the artifact at the bottom of the lake was once on dry land, but the rising water eventually engulfed and sunk the structure. We may never know the real reason this lake carries so many secrets.

A Hidden Treasure

download (2)
Photo Credit: natgeo

Scientists have always been fascinated with Lake Van because of how old it is. People have been studying this lake for decades, trying to figure out more about its history and ontology.

The scientists were focused on the chemistry and geography of the lake, so they didn’t notice this gigantic structure in the depths of Lake Van. If one momentous event hadn’t happened, that structure may never have been discovered.

An Ancient Kingdom

tumblr_n6qz6wuow01qgfba4o1_400
Photo Credit: natgeo

Maps from the 9th century look a lot different from today’s maps. Here you can see that Lake Van was once very close to Tushpa, the capital of Urartu. During the Iron Age, Urartu was a thriving kingdom.

The kingdom was active from 860-560 BC— at least, that’s what legend tells us. However, there has been no physical evidence of this kingdom ever existing. No evidence that is, until now.

A New Expedition

lake-van-historical-discovery-03
Ali Ihsan Ozturk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

In 2017, a group of archaeologists, historians, and photographers traveled to Lake Van based on a hunch that they might discover something amazing. They had heard stories about an ancient kingdom and the structures they may have left behind. But they had no idea whether those stories were true or not.

The curious team thought that it couldn’t hurt to do some exploring. If they didn’t find any artifacts, at least they might learn something new about the lake.

A Prior Mission

Screen-Shot-2019-01-08-at-13.19.18
Photo Credit: Anadolu

This lake had been around for hundreds of thousands of years, so the explorers and researchers thought that there had to be something lurking in its depths. They planned to spend weeks looking for proof of this ancient kingdom.

In the 1950s and ’60s, researchers had gone on a similar mission. And when they did, they found something pretty interesting… Keep reading to find out more about what they discovered.

A New Look At An Old Site

Screen-Shot-2019-01-03-at-17.11.22
Photo Credit: Anadolu

In the 1950s, scientists were aware that there might be some sort of ancient structure at the bottom of Lake Van. They heard that the structure was built during the Middle Ages between the years 476 and 1450 A.D. In the ’50s and ‘60s, scientists didn’t have access to the kind technology that we have now, that aids in making these types of underwater discoveries.

On this second expedition in 2017, the scientists would be able to discover much more than their past counterparts.

The A Team

lake-van-historical-discovery-04
Ozkan Bilgin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The group of archaeologists, photographers, and researchers teamed up with some of the very best divers in the area. The team was assembled by Yan Yüzüncü Yıl University. The University was funding an underwater excavations study related to Lake Van.

All of these people set off to discover more about this deep, ancient lake. Little did they know, they were about to make a discovery that would illuminate a people’s entire history.

The Lost City

Ruins-of-Armenian-castle-lake-Van
Photo Credit: Anadolu

This lake has been a hot spot for explorers for decades. People have been coming here in search of a long lost city, similar to the City of Atlantis. Divers have found old bottles, bits of glass, some interesting stones, but no evidence of a lost civilization.

This team of researchers wasn’t expecting to find something as magical as the sunken City of Atlantis, so when they did, they almost couldn’t believe their eyes.

An Amazing Discovery

Screen-Shot-2019-01-03-at-16.27.16
Photo Credit: Anadolu

The team put on their diving gear and got their cameras ready. They dove deep below the surface of Lake Van, where they found the lost kingdom.

The entire research team was completely overwhelmed, as they knew the significance of this discovery. They hoped they would find something interesting, but to actually locate a 3,000-year-old building was beyond their wildest expectations. Their dive was about to result in uncovering ancient history.

Search And You Shall Find

Screen-Shot-2019-01-03-at-16.27.23
Photo Credit: Anadolu

Deep in the water sitting on the floor of the lake was a huge castle that had been perfectly preserved by the salty water, after all of these years. The divers and researchers had searched long and hard, and this was the reward for their dedication. It was a moment that none of them would ever forget.

The head of the diving team, Tahsin Ceylan, had actually set out on a completely different mission, so he was especially surprised by this find.

Who Else Is Lurking In The Depths?

Screen-Shot-2019-01-08-at-13.15.57
Photo Credit: Anadolu

Ceylan wasn’t looking for a castle, he was looking for a monster. There was a rumour that had been circulating for centuries that there was some kind of mythical sea creature living in Lake Van.

Ceylan said, “There was a rumor that there might be something under the water, but most archaeologists and museum officials told us that we won’t find anything.” Do we think Ceylan could be on to something?

The Size Of The Thing

Screen-Shot-2019-01-03-at-17.07.29
Photo Credit: Anadolu

At the bottom of the lake, the ancient castle sat as though it were on dry land, in impeccable condition. The team wondered how the castle ended up at the bottom of the lake, so they started collecting clues to examine.

The castle walls were about 4 meters high and the structure was about a kilometer wide. The researchers wondered how a castle so massive could end up at the bottom of a lake without documentation as to what happened.

An Answer After Years Of Questions

Screen-Shot-2019-01-03-at-17.07.36
Photo Credit: Anadolu

This castle seemed to be evidence that the long lost Urartu kingdom actually existed. The team had unlocked new evidence that could teach us a great deal about the Iron Age.

The area around the lake was also known as the Kingdom of Van. It existed from the 9th to the 6th century BCE. The scientists on the team hypothesized that the kingdom had been destroyed due to rising water levels.

Learning More About The Uratians

Screen-Shot-2019-01-03-at-17.08.03
Photo Credit: Anadolu

The scientists believed that when the Urartian people first built their castle, the water levels of the lake were dramatically lower. The people must have thought that it was a good idea to build their kingdom next to a water source, even if the water was brackish.

There are probably more Urartian structures at the bottom of Lake Van which means that there’s more exploring that needs to be done.

Looking At The Numbers

Screen-Shot-2019-01-03-at-17.08.45
Photo Credit: Anadolu

Some of the sections of the castle were still standing strong, while some walls had disintegrated into piles of loose rocks. Sections of the castle and the city surrounding it were found dispersed along the shore of the lake.

The scientists started looking at the quantifiable data. They measured all of the standing walls and wondered how deep they were buried into the floor of the lake. The more they discovered, the more questions they had.

Who Could This Castle Belong To?

Screen-Shot-2019-01-03-at-17.09.23
Photo Credit: Anadolu

The discovery of this castle answers a lot of questions, but it also brings up even more. The team wanted to learn more about the people who had constructed this castle. They also wanted to know who lived in the castle before it was swallowed up by the lake.

After inspecting the walls of the castle for some time, Ceylan’s team discovered a drawing of a lion etched into the rock.

Differing Opinions

Screen-Shot-2019-01-03-at-17.09.36
Photo Credit: Anadolu

Back when Urartu was a thriving kingdom, they used a lion motif to represent themselves. At first, the archaeologists on the team thought that this was irrefutable evidence that this was an Urartian castle, but another archaeologist named Geoffrey Summers had a different opinion.

He said, “It looks more medieval than something from the Urartian kingdom.” If Geoffrey is right, it could mean that this castle was still standing (outside of the lake) during the medieval period.

Even More Experts

Screen-Shot-2019-01-03-at-17.12.19
Photo Credit: Anadolu

The researchers determined that some of the stones that the Urartians used to build their castle were originally made during the medieval period. The Urartians were recycling these materials from previously created structures.

An archaeology professor at Marmara University said, “The walls [seem] medieval or late antique period rather than Urartu. Urartian never used any material between ashlar wall stones to connect each other.” At that point in the mission, it seemed as though everyone had a different idea about who built this castle.

The Scholar Of Lake Van

Screen-Shot-2019-01-03-at-17.15.12
Photo Credit: Anadolu

A moderately famous scholar named P. Hulin published a report on the ancient mystery surrounding Lake Van. He wrote, “a lofty wall of later than Urartian times runs under the lake.” So, some experts think this is a Uratian castle, some think it’s pre-Uratian, and some think it’s post-Uratian. So which one of them is right?

P. Hulin had a few more things to say about this intriguing and mysterious castle.

The Writing On The Wall

lake-van-historical-discovery-05
Prisma/UIG via Getty Images

As part of his research, Hulin discovered inscriptions in artifacts found around Lake Van that spoke about the Urartian King, Rusa. The problem is, these writings had survived all kinds of weather over hundreds of years. The writing wasn’t as clear as it used to be.

Hulin was going to have to pull out all the stops if he was going to figure out what was originally written on those stones.

Rusa The Conqueror

lake-van-historical-discovery-06
Ozkan Bilgin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

King Rusa became the King of Urartu after his father, King Sarduri II died. While his father was still alive, Rusa was a conqueror who expanded the Kingdom of Urartu. During that time, he took over several Anatolian territories.

Once Rusa became king, however, his conquering days would come back to haunt him. You can’t just take somebody else’s land and expect them to be okay with it. There were consequences on the horizon.

A New King

lake-van-historical-discovery-07
Ali Ihsan Ozturk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Now that King Rusa was on the throne, the Assyrians had an idea. They appointed a new king by the name of Tiglath-Pileser III. That king instructed his people to regroup, build up their strength, and prepare for battle.

He was going to take back the land that had been taken away from him. He wasn’t going to be a weak leader like the king before him was. He was prepared to fight back.

A Battle For Power

lake-van-historical-discovery-09
DeAgostini/Getty Images

King Tiglath-Pileser III was preparing his loyal subjects to take back the land that King Rusa’s father had taken control of when he was on the throne. Some researchers thought that this was the moment that the Urartian castle disappeared into the lake. Maybe some kind of battle broke out and the castle was completely displaced.

We may never know what really happened to that castle, but we can test all of these theories against the evidence found in the lake.

A Fight To The Finish

lake-van-historical-discovery-11
CM Dixon/Print Collector/Getty Images

When King Rusa took over the Urartian kingdom from his father, he had to immediately fight off King Tiglath-Pileser III’s troops. These people had been training for a battle, and it was abundantly clear that nothing (short of brute force) was going to stop them from taking their land back.

Fights over land ownership dominate much of history (and much of current affairs, if you think about it). Land has always meant power, and people have always wanted power.

Hard Work Pays Off

lake-van-historical-discovery-12
Werner Forman/Universal Images Group/Getty Images

The Urartu kingdom was invaded time and time again, and it had to repair itself each time it was attacked. After all of these battles, the kingdom was gradually deteriorating. Each time, the kingdom needed more resources to make the repairs.

King Tiglath-Pileser III’s army was breaking down the Urartu kingdom bit by bit. They saw their efforts working, and believed that with patience and diligence, the kingdom would fall and the land would be theirs for the taking.

The Urartians Admit Defeat

lake-van-historical-discovery-08
Ali Ihsan Ozturk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The Urartu people were suffering. They were running out of money and resources and they were growing tired of defending themselves. Eventually, they were forced to admit defeat. They handed over their land and their castles to the people of Assyria.

King Rusa spent most of his reign at war with the Assyrians. In the end, he lost both his kingdom and his mind. He couldn’t keep the land he had conquered and felt totally defeated.

The Research Continues

lake-van-historical-discovery-10
Ali Ihsan Ozturk/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The discovery of the ancient castle at the bottom of Lake Van as attracted many scientists, archaeologists, researchers, and divers to the area. Everyone is determined to find out more about this mysterious structure and how it ended up so far below the surface of the lake.

There is so much more to discover about this massive artifact. Hopefully, the experts will be able to come to a consensus and tell us more about the Urartian people and their kingdom.

The story proves that there is so much out there to be discovered. If you thought these findings were incredible, check out one Danish woman’s astonishing discovery on the island of Hjarnø.

It All Started With a Typical Walk

151316_Hjarn-94759
Visitjuelsminde.dk

Sometimes, people are just in the right place at the right time. That was exactly the case for Terese Refsgaard, a dental assistant and archaeological enthusiast. While she wasn’t working as a professional archaeologist, Refsgaard still managed to discover something that was so amazing it left several researchers and archaeologists in disbelief.

Terese Refsgaard took a routine walk every day. Being an archaeological enthusiast, however, she was usually in search of treasure. It was during one of these walks that she discovered something incredible that many people believed to have been lost in time.

Her discovery was out of the ordinary and provided researchers with some unanswered questions about history — but what was it?

Meet Terese Refsgaard

hjarno discovery
Terese Frydensberg Refsgaard / Facebook

Terese Refsgaard works as a dental assistant but has always had a deep interest in archaeology. Ever since she was a little girl, she loved exploring, as she is a very curious person. In her youth, Refsgaard spent her free time looking for stones that looked different from others and would imagine that they had carvings from ancient times.

It was her curiosity that led her to make a discovery in a bog that would amaze everybody. When word of her discovery got out, professional archaeologists intervened to properly investigate her findings.

Archaeology Was a Hobby For Her

hjarno discovery 2
Terese Frydensberg Refsgaard / Facebook

Terese Refsgaard never would have imagined that her hobby as an amateur archaeologist would take her this far. Whenever she had free time, she was usually out exploring, as finding new things was what she really enjoyed doing.

While she had discovered some things as an amateur archaeologist, none of her past discoveries would come close to what she found one day on her walk. That day, she was ready to head back home when she found something that she couldn’t believe.

But what was it if professional archaeologists needed to step in and help?

She Was Involved With An Archaeology Group

hjarno discovery 3
Terese Frydensberg Refsgaard / Facebook

As an amateur archaeologist, Terese Refsgaard had become involved with a group that holds events for hobbyists like her who can work together on actual archaeology sites. By doing so, she learned a lot from her peers and mentors while also getting experience in the field that she probably wouldn’t have had if she was working alone.

It was her knowledge from her involvement in these groups, that she was able to correctly handle and unearth what she found. What she found that day were items that linked the past and the present, providing some much-needed answers.

Why Hjarnø?

hjarno discovery 4
Terese Frydensberg Refsgaard / Facebook

Hjarnø is a small Danish island located on the east coast of Jutland in Hedensted Municipality. The island is 1.9 miles long with a total area of 1.24 square miles and a population of 104. However, there is a reason why Terese Refsgaard was on this small island.

The island is well-known for its history of having artifacts such as arrowheads and other items discovered beneath its muddy earth. Yet, Refsgaard wasn’t interested in finding arrowheads, she wanted to discover something with much more meaning, and that’s exactly what she did.

Something Out Of a Storybook

hjarno discovery 5
Terese Frydensberg Refsgaard / Facebook

Growing up, we all heard fantasy stories about a character walking alone, only to stumble upon something of great value that they were destined to find. But those are just stories.

However, in the case of Terese Resfgaard, those stories were going to become a reality as she was destined to find something on that island. What she would find had been hidden for centuries, waiting for her to stumble upon and unearth it.

She was beside herself when she finally held it in her hands.

Choosing Where To Go On The Island

hjaro discovery 6
Visitjuelsminde

Upon arriving on the small island of Hjarnø, Terese Refsgaard was surprised to see that she wasn’t the only amateur archaeologist to have the idea to go to the island. Slightly dismayed by the number of other people, she decided to make the most out of her day.

There are several hotspots on the island, where numerous discoveries have been made before, but Refsgaard knew that’s where the other archaeologists would most likely be. She knew if she was around other people she was less likely to find something, so she gambled and went somewhere nobody else knows.

Setting Off OnSetting Off On Her Own

hjarno discovery 7
Terese Frydensberg Refsgaard / Facebook

Terese Refsgaard was well aware of the island’s reputation of being a hotbed of discoveries where many artifacts have been unearthed in the past. Clearly, she wasn’t the only person that knew about the abundance of items on the island, as there were many people that had come with the same hopes as her.

She decided to not follow the rest of the explorers no matter where they were heading and set off on her own. Little did she know her decision would lead her to find one of the most amazing discoveries in the island’s history.

Then, Something Happened

hjarno discovery 8
Terese Frydensberg Refsgaard / Facebook

While everyone else continued to look around in crowded areas, Terese Refsgaard began walking toward the ocean with her metal detector. Considering that this was her hobby, she wouldn’t have been all that disappointed if she came up empty-handed.

She knew that if you expected to find something every time that you went looking, it would be quite a discouraging hobby. However, fortunately for her, she was in the right place at the right time.

As she was walking toward the beach her metal detector went off.

She Was Ready To Get To Work

hjarno discovery 9
Terese Frydensberg Refsgaard / Facebook

Thanks to her work with her archaeological group, Terese Refsgaard knew the necessary steps to begin unearthing something that could potentially be precious. She also knew that this was no time to rush her work and that it might take some serious time if she wanted to do everything the proper way.

She began her investigation of the area, checking every inch of the area she mapped out. As she moved at a snail’s pace, her metal detector began to ring louder and louder until she seemed to be directly on top of it.

But what was it?

Digging With Extreme Caution

hjarno discovery 10
Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images

Once Terese Refsgaard was convinced that she had something of worth, she knew that it was time to dig, but with extreme caution. As an amateur archaeologist, she knew that you can’t just go digging in the ground like it’s a sandpit, so, she began working slowly and carefully making her way into the ground.

She dug as slowly as possible, continuously sifting through the dirt in hopes of finding anything of importance. Not only did she not want to destroy an artifact but she didn’t want to miss it either. Then, she found something.

A Harsh Reality

hjarno discovery 11
Terese Frydensberg Refsgaard / Facebook

After carefully digging into the earth, she finally had found what she was looking for. Unfortunately, it wasn’t what she had hoped for it to be. Instead, to her dismay, all she found was a piece of stray metal. Laughing to herself about her “discovery,” she thought about abandoning her location and going to one of the more populated areas.

Instead, she decided to stick to her original plan and continue exploring the area away from everyone else. It was this decision that led her to discover a piece of history that shocked numerous researches.

Not Giving Up

hjarno discovery 12
Mohssen Assanimoghaddam/picture alliance via Getty Images

While she was disappointed that she had only found a piece of scrap metal, she didn’t think that it was the end of the world. She didn’t even think she would find anything at all and the excitement of possibly finding something was enough for her to keep going.

She knew that her decision to search near the coast had been random at best, but she picked up her materials and decided to push forward, towards one of the greatest discoveries on the island.

Moving On

hjarno discovery 13
Terese Frydensberg Refsgaard / Facebook

As it turns out, the area that she was exploring wasn’t all that large, so it didn’t take Terese Refsgaard very long for her to cover the entire area with her metal detector. As she was finishing up her scanning of the area, she began to feel like there wasn’t anything there.

However, after taking a much-needed break, she heard the sound of her device once again. She had found something but figured that it wasn’t anything of importance.

Luckily for her, she was wrong.

A Second Chance

hjarno discovery 14
Terese Frydensberg Refsgaard / Facebook

Without wasting time, Terese Refsgaard began digging under where her metal detector had signaled. As she dug, she still didn’t find anything and feared that she had been led astray once again.

However, after placing the metal detector on the spot once again, she learned that there was actually something there. She realized that it must be deeper than she originally thought and continued to dig further and further down.

It wouldn’t be long until she discovered what is now considered to be a major archaeological find.

A Crowd Began To Gather

hjarno discovery 15
Terese Frydensberg Refsgaard / Facebook

After digging for what felt like forever, some people even came over to help. However, Terese Refsgaard didn’t realize that people had started coming over from all over, curious about what she was going to dig up. Regardless of how tired she was, she kept going because she had a feeling inside her that this wasn’t going to be last time.

Finally, she found it. She screamed in excitement alerting even more people in the surrounding area. She held something in her hand as she jumped around wildly. She had just made the discovery of a lifetime.

The Discovery Of A Lifetime

hjarno discovery 16
Velje Museums

Amazingly, the amateur archaeologist discovered over 23 pieces of jewelry. However, it wasn’t just any kind of jewelry, which would have been incredible as well. No, this jewelry was over 1,500 years old.

This was confirmed by the researches that came later to help Terese Refsgaard finish excavating and take the discovery to a whole new level. On top of that, the jewelry has a very interesting origin, something that nobody saw coming.

Keep going to see where the jewelry originally came from!

The Gold Was Centuries Old

hjarno discovery 17
Velje Museums

According to Mads Ravn, the research head of Vejle Museums, the pieces of jewelry that Terese Refsgaard had unearthed date as far back as the 6th century, a time that even predates the Viking period.

He claims that “Years can go by without amateur archaeologists finding gold, and some never do, so this is amazing.” Refsgaard had managed to accomplish the impossible and this was just the beginning of her adventure. Her entire world was about to be turned upside down.

There Was More Than Just Gold And Jewelry

hjarno discovery 18
Vejle Museums

While the first thing she found may have been gold jewelry, there was certainly more where that came from. As she kept digging, she found several other artifacts including beads, pendants, a needle, and gold coins which clearly were used as currency during that time.

Not only had she discovered something as valuable as gold, but her discovery helped answer several questions that still lingered in the archaeology community. Her find is considered to be one of the most important in the area of all time.

Connection To The Roman Empire

hjarno discovery 19
Vejle Museums

While it was Terese Refsgaard who had personally made the discovery without the help of any professionals, she didn’t quite know what she had found until the find was analyzed and studied by professional researchers. After being studied, it was revealed that 27 of the 32 pieces that were discovered were made of pure gold.

Head researcher, Mads Ravn, explained that “The find suggests that people from Hjarnø had contact with the Roman empire,” something that wasn’t always agreed upon until now.

More Evidence On The Island

hjarno discovery 20
Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images

Although Terese Refsgaard’s find is one of the most important ever discovered in the history of the island, there has been other evidence that points to Ancient Rome. However, her find helped solidify the idea that the island once had communication with the Ancient Empire.

People have also found other kinds of artifacts including arrowheads that have most likely washed up on shore and are then buried in sediment. Only then are they later excavated by people like Refsgaard.

Used As An Offering

hjarno discovery 21
Vejle Museums

Apparently, according to some scientists and archaeologists, it’s highly possible that the gold and other artifacts found on Hjarnø was an offering to appease “angry gods.” This theory is believed by many because it’s one of the assumptions that makes sense considering how the gold remained undiscovered for so much time.

Also, why the island would have Roman gold and other goods in such close proximity could only mean that they were put there together intentionally.

Further Roman Connection

hjarno discovery 22
Vejle Museums

Ravn further discussed the connection with the Romans stating that “People connected to the Romans probably took part in raids there, so our find is a small legacy from a turbulent time in world history in which gold speaks its own clear language.”

Gold was constantly used as an offer to their Gods because they found it to be extremely important to themselves, so they assumed that their Gods would find it equally as appealing. So, gold was frequently used as a form of “sacrifice” in hopes to appease them.

Their Patterns Were Also Very Roman

hjarno discovery 23
Vejle Museums

Furthermore, the gold is believed to be Roman because of the jewelry patterns and designs which are described as “In terms of craft, they are completely unique, with gold markings that almost form spirals […] That is evidence of a high level of skill.”

Romans were known for their skills with working with gold even as far back as the 6th century, and the patterns match what has been found in Rome, so it only makes sense that the gold would be of Roman origin.

More People Support The Offering Theory

hjarno discovery 24
Terese Frydensberg Refsgaard / Facebook

While at first, it was thought that the gold discovered may have been an offering by some people to the Gods, over time, more people have begun to support this idea. For example, one researcher who writes for Phys.org also commented on this theory.

He states that “We think that it was a typical offering made in the hope that the gods could help those who buried the treasure through a difficult time. And we know that it dates to the 6th century.”

But why would they be making an offering?

What Was The Offering For?

hjarno discovery 25
OSCAR RIVERA/AFP/Getty Images

Given the time period of the treasure found, it is believed that the possible offering may have been a result of the El Salvador volcano eruption that occurred around the same time. Still, researchers aren’t entirely sure.

Phys.org writes, “Was it intended to appease angry gods and end the poor summers and dark skies following the El Salvador volcanic eruption? Or was it thanks to the ultimate collapse of the Western Roman Empire a few decades earlier, whereby the gold was brought to Denmark by returning ‘new rich’ aristocrats, who defined a new ritual practice and religion based on the Nordic Gods? We do not know.”

About The Volcano

hjarno discovery 26
Marco Restivo / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Apparently, the eruption that the researcher was discussing was a volcano that erupted in El Salvador which killed over an estimated 100,000 people immediately and displaced more than 400,000 more.

The event of the volcano’s eruption was so massive that not only El Salvador was affected but areas throughout the entire world. The impacts from the volcano would also be felt for years after the initial eruption of the mega-volcano.

It Was Written About In History

hjarno discovery 27
Ed Wray/Getty Images

Interestingly enough, according to the Byzantine historian, Procopius, the sky was filled with ash for over a year after the volcano had erupted. Even in places as far away as the Byzantine Empire.

Procopius writes, “The sun gave forth its light without brightness, and it seemed exceedingly like the sun in eclipse, for the beams it shed were not clear.” After analyzing the eruption using modern science, the volcano is considered to be one of the most severe and destructive volcanoes in all of history.

The Eruption Led To Climate Change

hjarno discovery 28
Pitaya Filmes/ Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Researches tell us that the devastation of this natural disaster was large enough to immediately affect a large portion of the world, but also sparked climate change in the following years. It is believed that in Denmark, there would have been poor summers and failed harvests, making it extremely difficult to survive during those times.

Various Roman sources describe the sun as dark during the day and, according to the 6th century Syriac Chronicle, there was “great despair among the people.” This could have led to the offering of the gold for better harvests and survival of their people.

The Artifacts Can Be Seen In A Museum

hjarno discovery 29
Terese Frydensberg Refsgaard / Facebook

Today, Terese Refsgaard’s findings are still studied frequently by archaeologists and researchers. People come from all over the world with the hopes of getting a chance to look at this amazing discovery with their own eyes and study it themselves.

Today, the gold is on display at The Vejle Museums and Museum of Cultural History, up until January 2019. It is then expected to be moved to the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen. They are open for viewing to the public.

Refsgaard Is Proud Of Herself

hjarno discovery 30
Terese Frydensberg Refsgaard / Facebook

Still in shock after her discovery, Terese Refsgaard has admitted that she’s quite proud of her accomplishments. She’s been told by countless researchers and archaeologists that what she did was nothing short of a miracle.

She didn’t just find gold either but helped provide answers to gaps in history that were previously unknown. The discovery changed her life for the better, validating her as more than just an amateur archaeologist, and making all of her hours of work well worth it.

Refsgaard Today

hjarno discovery 31
Terese Frydensberg Refsgaard / Facebook

After making her unbelievable discovery, Terese Refsgaard spent time working with museums and fellow researchers to understand what it was exactly that she found. She then spent some time in the spotlight telling her story and explaining what it was.

However, she still currently works in her dental profession although she’s still passionate about archaeology. She still knows that there’s plenty more to find out there in the world and doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon. While she knows she’ll never beat her previous discovery, that’s not stopping her from trying.

The Impact Of Her Find

hjarno discovery 32
Terese Frydensberg Refsgaard / Facebook

Yes, Terese Refsgaard may have found some buried treasure from long ago, but scientists, researches, and historians find it to be much more important than that. To them, Refsgaard helped contribute to understanding ancient people and ancient cultures. She helped provide answers to who was communicating with who and why some people did what they did.

Her discovery gave the scholars one of the missing pieces that were once lost but have now given us a deeper understanding of a part of the past. Many questions were answered all thanks to Refsgaard and her metal detector.

Reflecting On Her Story

hjarno discovery 33
Terese Frydensberg Refsgaard / Facebook

If Terese Refsgaard’s discovery of some gold pieces on the small island of Hjarnø had such an incredible impact on the way we view history, it puts into perspective how little we actually know. Also, since she found her treasure in a place where no one else was looking, maybe we need to reconsider where we think clues to the past are always located.

We may think we know a lot about the past, but in reality, we probably know much less than we think, but it’s up to researchers and enthusiasts like Refsgaard to help us learn more.

She’s Excited To Share Her Findings

hjarno discovery 34
Terese Frydensberg Refsgaard / Facebook

In early 2019, a new exhibit opened in Denmark titled, “Guld & Koas”. Refsgaard’s gold discoveries were featured in the exhibit, and she was elated to be able to display her findings for all to enjoy. Translated into English, Refsgaard posted, “There have been the sweetest and brightest archaeologists from the start to the end.”

She continued, “It’s been a long, hard, exciting, and secret journey which has cost sweat and tears, and now it’s all culminated with a nice exhibition for children and adults.” She couldn’t believe that comedian/journalist/author Anders Lund Madsen stopped by to check it out.

Wondering If She Should Have Kept Herself Anonymous

hjarno discovery 35
Terese Frydensberg Refsgaard / Facebook

Refsgaard’s findings have gotten her a lot of attention, and like most people who are thrust into the spotlight, she wonders if the people who want to be friends with her are there for the right reasons. On Facebook she went so far as to question whether she should have included her name in the findings at all.

Translated from Dutch, she posted, “Everybody wants a piece of the cake. That’s what it’s like to be stupid, naive, and gullible. Well you get smarter. In the future, I’m 100% anonymous about my findings. You know even in the heart what you found.”

She’s Proud to Be Danish

hjarno discovery 36
Terese Frydensberg Refsgaard / Facebook

The people of Denmark don’t make major headlines as often as they’d probably like. With a population of 5.77 million, there are fewer people in Denmark than in New York City. So when news of Refsgaard’s gold discovery started making its rounds, she was not only proud of herself but proud to represent her country.

She posted, “I have carried a big secret since May 2016 and it is with pride and humility that I finally, finally can put a well-deserved sentence for it and present it to the Danish people.”

She Has A Following of Fans

hjarno discovery 37
Terese Frydensberg Refsgaard / Facebook

A lot of people admire Refsgaard’s work and positive attitude. She’s made friends on Facebook who enjoy following her exhibits and her life. Many leave positive comments on her posts like “You do well and find exciting important things that would otherwise be saved and forgotten for our story.”

And, “Can I come with once? I’m totally ready to find some gold.” She always takes the time to respond to comments and answer questions.

She Gets People Excited About Archaeology

hjarno discovery 38
Terese Frydensberg Refsgaard / Facebook

Some people have a genuine interest in archaeology, but the general population doesn’t think much about it. It’s rare that important pieces of history are discovered, and many archaeologists even go decades without ever finding anything extraordinary.

Refsgaard has been able to get people excited about what’s buried below. People follow along as she explains the significance of findings. It’s clear that Refsgaard is passionate about her hobby and she’s inspired many people because of it.

She Considers Herself Lucky

hjarno discovery 39
Terese Frydensberg Refsgaard / Facebook

When Refsgaard’s followers get excited about the prospect of finding gold and want to know if she’s found anything lately, she’s quick to keep them in check and explain that it’s extremely rare and special to make a finding as she did in Hjarnø.

She told one follower, “It doesn’t hang like that on the trees. Many have gone 30-40 years and never found ancient gold.” She’s also shared, “Imagine once you’ve been so lucky to be able to contribute with this to Denmark’s story. More findings to follow…”