Sysmä silver find restored thanks to culture sponsors now on exhibit at the National Museum


In September 2017, a metal detectorist made a rare silver find near the medieval church of Sysmä. The Finnish Numismatic Society chose to sponsor the find due to its numismatic significance and uniqueness. The financial support from the Finnish Numismatic Society made it possible to conserve and exhibit the artefacts. The silver find will be on display in the National Museum’s Prehistory exhibition until the end of October.

The find includes 31 silver coins, a silver buckle, rings, silver and cross pendants and silver spirals. The coins and the silver pendant were attached to a necklace with loops. What makes the find so exceptional is the large number of Finnish imitations and coins that were used as jewellery. The artefacts include several previously unknown Finnish imitations of coins. The most significant is an imitation based on a rare gold coin of the Byzantine emperor Michael V (ruled 1041–1042), which is the only known piece of its kind.  

The oldest coins, dirhams, are from the early 900s. The imitations of Byzantine coins are approximately 100 years younger. There are plenty of known Iron Age relics that have been found in the vicinity of the medieval church of Sysmä: dwelling sites, burial sites and sacrificial stones. The area probably already had village-like habitation at the end of the Iron Age. Stationary relics are protected under the Antiquities Act (295/1963).  

Investigations connected to the Sysmä silver find and its conservation are discussed in more detail in Yle KulttuuriCocktail’s short documentary ”Löytynyt: hopea-aarre”, (Found: A Silver Treasure), which will be shown at the exhibition and in The short documentary, in Finnish, shows what the Iron Age silver items can tell us today.

The conservation unit of the National Museum of Finland had the honour of opening its doors to the Finnish Numismatic Society during the conservation and was able to take advantage of the deep knowledge of experts in their special field. The doors to behind the scenes were also opened to the previous sponsors, the Kalevala Women’s Association and the Kalevala Jewelry Cultural Foundation, in return for the support that helped to preserve the find of the Janakkala swordsman. Similarly, Jaakko and Tua Björklund were invited to the lab in thanks for enabling to bring the rare brass armour of Henrik Klasson Fleming to shine in glory at Häme Castle.  

Cultural heritage is everyone’s shared heritage – our roots. Through cultural sponsorship, the National Museum of Finland offers companies, associations and individuals the opportunity to help preserve it. 

Further information
Jani Oravisjärvi, Keeper,, tel. +358 295 33 6398
Ville Rohiola, Curator,, tel. +358 295 33 6099
Culture sponsors: Eero Ehanti, Head of Conservation Department,, tel. +358 295 33 613

Media images

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