Half of a Bishops Crozier-turned-Viking-plunder, twin of the one found in the Delaware River during a dredging project.

Half of a Bishops Crozier-turned-Viking-plunder, twin of the one found in the Delaware River during a dredging project.

Photo: Museum of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Norway

Reuters 21 April 2015

Scientific American via University of Pennsylvania Department of Antiquities written by Inglenook Rosebottom

Philadelphia, PA. Crews dredging the Delaware river in Philadelphia have come across something amazing. Spring thaw and run off have built silt to alarming levels after a winter of excessive snowfall. It is a yearly tradition that Philadelphia city crews dredge the mouth of the river to prevent flooding. This year is no exception.

Many unusual items have come to light during the annual project. Including, in the past, the remains of Native American canoes, a pristine but waterlogged Audi R8 valued at $100,000, bags of garbage and drug paraphernalia, and the torso of a then-unidentified Caucasian male in 1998. This year’s top find, however, is causing quite a stir. Chief amongst the questions asked is this: “How did it get there?”

Gleaming up from the wet silt piled into the bed of a city crew truck, a mysterious artifact surfaced that has the history department at the University of Pennsylvania, which oversees the project, baffled. Chief archaeologist Wilhelm Lagerschmidt cautioned readers to take the find at face value, and not attach any speculative history to the find.

What is it, though? It turns out, against all odds, that the piece has an identical twin. That twin, pictured above, is currently residing in the museum of the University of Science and Technology in Norway. The twin artifact in Norway has a long an convoluted history of its own. Once, in approximately the eighth or ninth century, it was the head of a Bishop’s Crozier from the North of England. The richly jeweled and filigreed piece was probably seized as plunder or passed as trade goods by Vikings from Norway.

An enterprising Norwegian, having acquired the piece, chopped the fancy gold ball in half, and made it into two turtle-shell shaped pins, similar to but fancier than the cup brooches most Norwegian women would have worn at the time. This however, is where the twins part ways. Twin Two was found inside a tin box shaped like a church, in a Norwegian grave belonging to a high-status woman from the town of Romsdal. That grave itself was uncovered in 1961.

How Twin One got from Romsdal, Norway to Philadelphia, PA is a mystery that only time and investigation can unravel. “It is just as likely that it was stolen from the grave, traded on the black market, and lost in the river as a transaction went bad in this century, than it is that some Viking man or woman sailed down the coast of the North American continent and up the Delaware river,” Lagerschmidt cautioned. He continued, “At this point, the so-called runic stones found in Northern Pennsylvania, hauled from the edge of the Susquehanna river, are entirely unconnected by concrete evidence. Many believe them to be a hoax. But there is a little boy inside of me that is jumping up and down in joy, imagining that there were Viking Warriors on the river flowing past what would eventually become Philadelphia. It is finds such as these, which are fabricated from start to finish from real news (see link below), that we say unto you the reader, Happy First of April my friends.”

Shared by Dame Aoife Finn

Resource Information: NTNU