A glass ring proves Norsemen traded with the Islamic world directly

Thanks to modern technology, researches were able to decode a mysterious inscription and make a great discovery

A ring found in a Viking grave near the town of Birka on the island of Björkö in Sweden confirms that Norsemen had direct contact with the Islamic world.

The ring, made of glass and not amethyst as previously thought, has an inscription bearing the word 'Allah'.

According to the researchers, who discovered the ring, it is a well-known fact that Norsemen imported glass from Egypt and Mesopotamia already 3,400 years ago via various trade networks.

Glass was an exotic commodity at the time.

However, the small jewellery suggests that Norsemen even travelled to the region and traded directly with Islamic men.

A ring with a unique value
The researchers from Stockholm University used a scanning electron microscope to determine the material the ring was made of and what exactly was in the inscription.

Because it is the only item with an Arabic inscription found on Scandinavian soil, it has a unique value among the objects from the Swedish Viking Age.

"It is a very exciting discovery, emphasising that Birka used to be a gateway to the East," Jeanette Varberg from the Aarhus University told Videnskab.