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Ancient gold treasures depicting Norse gods unearthed in Norway: "A very special find"

Dozens of ancient gold-foil figures depicting images of Norse gods have been unearthed in Norway, archaeologists said, marking at least the third discovery of treasures in the country in recent weeks. According to the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo, a total of 35 gold pieces have been found at the site of a pagan temple near a farm in Vingrom, which is about 100 miles south of the country's capital Oslo.

The tiny, thin gold-foil artifacts date back about 1,400 years to the Merovingian period in Norway, which began in 550 and lasted until about 800, experts say. The figures — showing images of Frøy and Gerd, a god and goddess of fertility — were discovered at the pagan temple site where experts believe people worshiped and made sacrifices to the gods, according to Science Norway.

Gold foil figures from the Norwegian Merovingian era (550-800). Museum of Cultural History / University of Oslo

"This is a very special find," archaeologist Kathrine Stene, who led the excavation, told Live Science.

Stene told Science Norway that three of the gold foils were found where the wall of the temple once stood and two others were found in post holes that once held support beams — meaning they were likely discovered in the locations where they were originally placed.

"It's extra special that we can link the gold foil figures to the various parts of the building's construction," Stene said.

Five new gold-foil figures found in Norway.  Museum of Cultural History / University of Oslo

The temple was originally discovered in 1993, along with two gold foils.  

Ingunn Marit Røstad, an archaeologist at the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo, told Science Norway she thinks more such treasures will be found.

"More of these small pieces of gold keep appearing, either through excavation or with metal detectors. So, more could pop up in various places in Norway as well," she said.

The news comes on the heels of two other discoveries of ancient artifacts in Norway.

Last month, a family searching for a lost gold earring in their garden with a metal detector discovered burial treasures from the Viking era. Over the summer, a Norwegian man with a metal detector found nine pendants, three rings and 10 gold pearls in what was described as the country's "gold find of the century," officials announced last month.

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