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This report is taken from PN Review 145, Volume 28 Number 5, May - June 2002.

Letter from Bornholm Anne Born

Bornholm is a Danish island in the Baltic, roughly the size of the Isle of Wight. It is closer to Sweden than Denmark and not too far from northern Germany. Despite its remote situation it was inhabited early, in the Stone Age and particularly during the Iron Age, whose people left a rich archaeological history. Possession of the island was disputed by both Sweden and Denmark and it changed hands several times over the centuries.

A unique find was made in the centre of the island during the 1980s. Sorte Muld, 'Black Soil', is a large grassy area in which were found buried some 2,300 small delicate gold flakes, a couple of centimetres long. Some are carved as human or animal figures, others rectangular with figures in relief. The place is thought to have been an Iron Age religious site, and the figures were probably offerings to the temple. There is a large display of them in the main museum at Rønne, which has been excellently refurbished.

Unlike the Danish mainland, the greater part of Bornholm is made up of granite in variety, with some slate and shale, extensively used for building. The north coast has high cliffs, the south coast extensive beaches of very fine white sand, and the interior is rolling arable land with some forest. During the Second World War, the island, like the rest of Denmark, was occupied by Germany relatively peacefully; then, with the coming of the tourist industry, Bornholm ...

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