Hobby archaeologists, listen up – this is how much you can expect to get paid if you find ancient relics in Norway.
According to the Norwegian Museum of Cultural History, the Scandinavian Vikings were notorious in more ways than one. They would reportedly blackmail kings and leaders, saying that if they didn’t pay them in sizeable treasures, the Vikings would attack.
The first known instance of this happening was in the year 845 AD, when the Vikings demanded almost six tons of gold and silver in order to hold back an attack on Paris.
When in possession of these extravagant treasures, the Vikings had to hide them safely away from thieves. Therefore, plenty of treasures have later been discovered in cracks in mountains and rock formations, as well as buried underground.
How much can you expect?
In theory, there is no limit to how much the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage can give out in finder’s fees.
Senior Adviser Lars Reinholt Aas told Dagsavisen that when it comes to noble metals, the finder’s fee is based on the value of the metal plus a minimum of 10%. In principle, this means that the weight of the treasure determines how much it is worth.
This is, however, not a fixed rule – the value is also determined based on how rare the find is.
For example, in 2019, Søgne Divers’ Club found a Dutch shipwreck and was awarded a finder’s fee of 100,000 Norwegian kroner. Conversely, a Viking coin dated between 1280-1285 and issued by the Norwegian king at the time, Eirik Magnusson, ensured a finder’s fee of 25,000 kroner.
It is worth keeping in mind that the finder’s fee will be split evenly between the finder of the treasure and the landowner. A finder’s fee is also taxable.
Tread with caution
The Cultural Heritage Act defines all loose cultural monuments from before 1537, coins from before 1650, and Sami loose cultural monuments from 1917 or earlier as state property. The same applies to more than 100-year-old ship finds when another owner is not known, with accessories, cargo, and other things that have been on board. For all types of objects that have appeared at random, a finder’s fee can be determined.
Indeed, the Norwegian Directorate for Cultural Heritage emphasizes that a finder’s fee is an appreciation and attention to the finder and landowner, not a state purchase of objects.
In 2019, NRK reported that Ole Johan Fuglerud and Joakim Holbæk had to pay fines of 15,000 and 8,000 Norwegian kroner for breach of the Cultural Heritage Act.
Searching with a metal detector, the childhood friends found Viking coins from the 800s in Hole, Norway. They decided to take them home and clean them, a move that turned out to be a big mistake.
County archaeologist Håvard Hoftun explained in court that the Cultural Heritage Act says that you should get in touch as soon as you understand that you have found something very old.
“Removing so many objects destroys the context of the claims and the information an archaeologist can find. It is a completely wrong treatment of findings and means that important findings may have been washed away,” Hoftun noted.
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