In 1936, farmer Hugo Kraft was tending to his field when his plow struck a solid object that turned out to be a distinctive chest enclosed by an iron chain. Inside the chest, he unearthed the most extensive array of tools from the Viking Age (793–1066) ever discovered. This collection included tools for iron working, carpentry, raw materials, and unfinished projects.
The chest, measuring 90 cm (35.04 inches) in length, 26 cm (10.24 inches) in width, and 24 cm (9.45 inches) in height, was secured with a chain made up of 26 figure-of-eight-shaped links. This chain served both as an additional lock and as a handle due to the chest’s considerable weight, surpassing the capacity of its original handle.
There are theories that suggest the chest and its contents may have been aboard a capsized boat that sank in a lake. Another hypothesis proposes a temporary concealment near the water’s edge.
Remarkably, despite being more than a millennium old, the Viking Age tools closely resemble modern tools in terms of composition, design, and functionality – a resemblance not coincidental. These tools bear similarities to early Roman implements that disseminated across Europe during the expansion of the Roman Empire, with subsequent trade disseminating innovative concepts and craftsmanship to distant regions from Rome.