uu.seUppsala University Publications
Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Analysis and Interpretation of a Unique Arabic Finger Ring from the Viking Age Town of Birka, Sweden
Show others and affiliations
2015 (English)In: Scanning, ISSN 0161-0457, E-ISSN 1932-8745, Vol. 37, no 2, 131-137 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In this work we used non-destructive SEM imaging and EDS analysis to characterize the material composition of an Arabic finger ring, which was found in a 9(th) c. woman's grave at the Viking Age (A.D. 793-1066) trading center of Birka, Sweden. The ring is set with a violet stone inscribed with Arabic Kufic writing, here interpreted as reading il-la-lah, i.e. For/to Allah. The stone was previously thought to be an amethyst, but the current results show it to be coloured glass. The ring has been cast in a high-grade silver alloy (94.5/5.5 Ag/Cu) and retains the post-casting marks from the filing done to remove flash and mold lines. Thus, the ring has rarely been worn, and likely passed from the silversmith to the woman buried at Birka with few owners in between. 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. The technical analysis presented here provides a better understanding of the properties and background of this intriguing piece of jewelry.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 37, no 2, 131-137 p.
Keyword [en]
scanning electron microscopy (SEM), archaeology, Allah, Kufic Arabic, Islamic jewelry
National Category
History and Archaeology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-253089DOI: 10.1002/sca.21189ISI: 000352814100007PubMedID: 25707897OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-253089DiVA: diva2:816023
Available from: 2015-06-02 Created: 2015-05-20 Last updated: 2015-06-02Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text

Other links

Publisher's full textPubMed

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Neiß (Neiss), Michael
By organisation
Department of Archaeology and Ancient History
In the same journal
History and Archaeology

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 281 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link