Amateur archaeologist finds Denmark’s oldest crucifix

Discovery could change Danish history

When amateur archaeologist Dennis Fabricius Holm got off work early last Friday and decided to spend a couple of hours searching a little field in Funen with his metal detector, little did he know he was about to make history.

Holm stumbled across one of the most extraordinary finds in recent times near the little town of Aunslev when he discovered a crucifix that dates back about 1,100 years – Denmark’s oldest crucifix ever found. It could rewrite Danish history.

“It’s a completely sensational find that dates back to the first half of the 900s,” Malene Refshauge Beck, a curator and archaeologist at Østfyns Museum, told DR Nyheder. “A nearly identical figure was found in Sweden that has been dated to this period.”

“This object will definitely need to figure in future history books as it could alter the period when it is believed that Danes became Christian. Over the last few years there have been more and more signs that Christianity was spread earlier than previously thought – and up until now, this find is the clearest proof of that.”

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Earliest depiction
The crucifix is also special because it is older than the great Jelling Stones, which are estimated to be from the year 965 and which were, until now, believed to be the earliest depiction of Jesus being crucified in Denmark.

The crucifix will now be studied by Østfyns Museum before going on display at Viking Museum Ladby in Kerteminde this summer.