Can You Solve The Medieval Mystery


Can You Solve The Medieval Mystery?
…the girl with silver heart…

Gothenburg (Göteborg) is celebrating its 400th anniversary in 2021. As part of the quadricentenary celebrations, the City Museum (Göteborgs Stadsmuseum) has an exhibition titled Göteborgs Födelse. According to the museum officials, the exhibition is a hit among the residents in Västra Götaland Regionen (län) one of the biggest counties or provinces or states in Sweden, and also visited by many inland and international tourists.

Gothenburg’s Birthday (Göteborgs Födelse)and the exhibition is a visual treat. It is a place to plunge into the bygone era for those interested in the history and society of the city, tourists, visitors and inquisitors who come from all over Europe, China and India.

The Riddle:
A girl was buried with a silver heart on her chest in the early 16th century in Nya Lödose (today’s Gamlestaden). For 400 years the skeletal remains and the heart were intact underneath Nya Lödose Church. The remains were disturbed in 1916 as a result of archaeological excavation and were re-buried sans the silver heart. The exhumed body is shifted to at Östra Kyrkogården cemetery. But the medieval silver heart is intact.

The silver heart is one of the remarkable objectsof the Stadsmuseum, and prime attractions at the exhibition.

The silver heart is full of unsolved mysteries:

  • Who and what represents the coat of arms, symbols and letters?
  • Why was a tiny packet made of several layers of fabric was kept inside the silver heart?
  • The outermost layer of the silver heart has a text – but indecipherable. The difficult-to-read text also faces inwards!
  • The tiny packet inside the heart has plant parts (pollen – the propagators of progeny – of cornflower and heather)
  • The four birds on the coat of arms and the coat of arms represent what, whom, where?
  • Did the silver heart belonged to a Dutch family called van Sassen?
  • Does the Roman letters JUS mean Justice as is the case in Latin?

Håkan Strömberg, educational officer at the stadsmuseum, says there are “lot of riddles about that heart, who the owner was, what was in it but there are other things as well telling the story”. The silver heart of the girl also tells a slice of history of the city in the early sixteen hundreds.

Can we solve the mystery in the silver heart in the information age (or experience age) where there is information everywhere?

What is the history of the heart? The museum officials want to know from you. When you see the heart at the exhibition, and if you have an answer or a reasonable guess, you can leave your comment on a sheet provided by the showcased ‘silver heart’ of the girl.

Visitors’ Views:

“A gift from her husband. The man wanted … ”

“The heart belonged to a noblewoman … ”

“She died for him. He cleaned his heart … ”

“Hilda was murdered by her own family. She loved a man …”