Man searching carrot field finds ancient gold and bronze jewelry — and multiple teeth

On the hunt with high-tech treasure hunters

A man with a metal detector searching a freshly plowed carrot field in Switzerland found a large ornate jewelry set dating to the Bronze Age — as well as other surprising items including a bear's tooth, a beaver's tooth and a fossilized shark's tooth, local officials said this week. 

Franz Zahn made the unusual discovery in August while he was "out and about in a freshly harvested carrot field" in Güttingen, about 50 miles northeast of Zurich, officials from Thurgau Canton said in a Monday news release.  Zahn initially found a bronze disc, and immediately realized it was an "extraordinary discovery" so he contacted local authorities.

A team of experts identified the discovery as a necklace and large jewelry set from the Middle Bronze Age, which dates to about 1500 B.C., officials said. Archaeologists later excavated a block of soil where the discovery was made and found a host of other artifacts —  including rings, wire spirals made of gold and more than 100 amber beads.

The hoard includes a necklace with spiked discs, an amber necklace, finger rings, gold spirals and special finds such as a bear's tooth and an ammonite. Thurgau Canton

Experts also made some other "surprising" finds — a bronze arrowhead, a beaver tooth, a bear tooth, a fossilized shark's tooth, a rock crystal and a small ammonite.

In total, eight spirals made of gold and 14 bronze spiked discs with grommets were recovered, indicative of "costume jewelry" worn by women about 3,500 years ago, according to the news release.

Local officials said that the unusual discovery triggered several questions: "Has a jewelry box been hidden here? Were the bear tooth, the rock crystal and the selected fossils and stones a collection of curiosities or souvenirs … ? Or is there more to it?"

Experts noted that the array of found objects were said to have "a special, protective or healing effect" and may have been worn as a kind of amulet.

Officials said that Zahn was very familiar with Güttingen and previously made other discoveries, including scrap metal and objects from the Iron Age and Bronze Age. The artifacts are being restored so that they can be exhibited in the Museum of Archaeology in Frauenfeld, Switzerland.

A video posted by Thurgau Canton showed the jewelry being restored in a lab.

Block salvage of the Güttingen depot find. Thurgau Canton

The unusual find in Switzerland follows other recent discoveries of ancient treasure found by people with metal detectors in Europe.

Ealrier this month, two sets of coins found by metal detectors in Wales turned out to be Roman treasure, officials confirmed.

In September, a Norwegian family looking for a lost earring in their garden instead discovered artifacts dating back more than 1,000 years. Just weeks before that, officials revealed that a man with a metal detector made the "gold find of the century" in Norway.


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