A treasure trove of jewelry and other goods likely belonging to one or more high-status women was once intentionally left in a forest in what is now western Sweden. It only took 2,500 years to find it. Cartographer Thomas Karlsson was surveying the forest near the town of Alingsas for his orienteering club earlier this month when a metallic glint caught his eye. "It looked like metal garbage," he says, per AFP. A closer look revealed several necklaces, bracelets, and ankle rings. But even then, "I thought they were fake," says Karlsson. "It all looked so new." That's when he emailed a local archaeologist. The 50 well-preserved items in fact date to between 750BC and 500BC, when tribes were thought to leave offerings to the gods in nature, per the BBC. Most offerings were left in rivers or wetlands, however, making this one a rare find.
Pernilla Morner, an antiquities expert in the region, says "not since the bronze shields from Froslunda were excavated from a field in Skaraborg in the mid-1980s has such an exciting find from the Bronze Age been made in Sweden," per the BBC. Among the trove, lying semi-exposed on the forest floor next to a bunch of rocks, was "a type of rod used to spur on horses" which has never been found in Sweden, the BBC reports. There was also a cloak pin and stylish jewelry featuring tight, elegant spirals, as shown by the Local. Archaeologist Johan Ling of Gothenburg University says "most of the items can be linked to a woman, or women, of high status." The items are property of the state under Swedish law, though Karlsson may get a reward. It "would be a nice bonus, but it's not very important to me," he tells the BBC. "It's fun to be a part of exploring history." (Read more discoveries stories.)