A ring (pictured) made over 1,000 years ago has confirmed contact between the Vikings and the Islamic world because it was unearthed in Sweden but bears an ancient Arabic inscription that asys ?for Allah? or ?to Allah?
Bearing an inscription that reads ?To Allah? or ?For Allah,? the silver ring with a violet-coloured stone was recovered from a woman?s grave by excavators at the Viking Age trading centre of Birka, Sweden.
The stone was originally thought to be amethyst but experts from Stockholm University, using a scanning electron microscope, revealed that it is actually coloured glass ? an exotic material at the time.
Ancient texts mention encounters between Scandinavians and members of the Islamic civilisation around 1000 years ago but supporting archaeological evidence is rare.
Scandinavians are known to have used networks to trade fancy glass objects from Egypt and Mesopotamia as early as 3400 years ago.
But experts say it?s possible that sea-faring Vikings travelled to that region to access goods themselves, rather than wait for them to make their way north through trade networks.
Further analysis that shows the ring has barely been worn also supports this theory.
Researchers say it proves the Arabic-crafted piece of jewellery had few or no owners before it came in possession of the Viking woman.
A report in the peer-reviewed scientific journal, Scanning, states: ?The ring may therefore constitute material evidence for direct interactions between Viking Age Scandinavia and the Islamic world.?
?Being the only ring with an Arabic inscription found at a Scandinavian archaeological site, it is a unique object among Swedish Viking Age material.?
? ninemsn 2015