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A silver treasure from a previous Millennium

Between the years 800-1300 when the Viking expeditions and Christianity met, the northern regions with their natural riches were the interests of the more southern kingdoms. The Kuusamo region was connected to prosperous destinations in North-eastern Europe, from Scandinavia to the White Sea region.

Every now and then someone grabs a shovel in just the right place and finds a cache of money buried in the ground. This also happened to one Herman Nikka from Kuusamo, who in 1896 during his mowing was smoothing over a mossy tussock and by chance uncovered worn silver coins and their pieces. The money cache in Pyhälahti, Kantokylä, Kuusamo, had been exposed.

The money cache consists of German, Arabic, English and Danish coins. There is a total of 409 whole or fragmented coins. The discovery dates back to the end of the 11th century.

The discovery site in the backwoods of Pyhälahti is an old meadow with a view of the Pyhälahti shore of lake Kuusamojärvi. At the end of his notification of the discovery to the governor of Oulu, Kuusamo’s rural police chief added the sentence: ”At the same time, I can humbly announce that approximately 50 metres from the place where the money was found, there is a place for a hearth of a room, which the people here call the home of the Lapps”.

The discovery site was inspected, and a draft map was made of it in 1917. During the inspections, it was found that the discovery site is located along the path leading to Sossonniemi at the end of lake Muojärvi.

In 1999, during the inventory of ancient remains carried out by the University of Oulu, numerous prehistoric pit-remains were found in the area. The hunting pits on the northern shore of the pond Pyhälampi and the residential dell on the northern shore of Pyhäniemi date back to the Neolithic Stone Age around 2500–2000 BC. The cooking pit on the north-eastern shore of the pond Pyhälahti dates back to the Early Metal Age 53 BC–125 AD.

About fifty Viking age money caches have been found in Finland. The coins of the Pyhälahti cache are in Kuusamo on loan from the collection of The National Museum of Finland.