Only on closer inspection did they realize it was silver, German national news agency DPA reported.
Thanks to their find, archaeologists from the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, embarked on an excavation of the 400 square meter site last weekend.
The excavation uncovered more than 600 coins and pieces of silver, including, jewelry, neck rings, brooches, pearls and a Thor’s hammer dating back to the late 10th century.
According to a statement released by the Mecklenburg-Vorpommern State Office for Culture and Historic Preservation, approximately 100 coins from the salvaged treasure trove are thought to have belonged to Harald “Bluetooth” Gormsson who reigned from around AD958 to 986 and whose name is today linked to bluetooth technology.
“This is the largest single find of Bluetooth coins in the southern Baltic Sea region and is therefore of outstanding importance,” excavation director Michael Schirren told DPA.
Among the discoveries were several silver coins bearing images of a Christian cross, believed by historians to be among Denmark’s first independent coins.
The Viking-born king is regarded by historians as the founder of the Danish empire and is credited with unifying the country under one flag.
He is believed to have converted to Christianity some time around 960, a decision that historians link to a decline in pagan traditions throughout the kingdom.