An ancient ring has shed new light on the links between Vikings and the Islamic world, over a century after its discovery. The ring found in the tomb of a Viking woman finally confirms a link between civilizations, until now, had no direct evidence. This is the first and only physical evidence of the links between Vikings and the Islamic world. The ring was discovered during late the 19th century, in a 9th century tomb in the town of Birka, on Björkö island, about 19 miles from Stockholm. Birka was a key trading center during the Viking Age and declared as UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1993.
It is a silver ring with an inset of colored glass. The glass is engraved with the word AL_LLH meaning “for Allah” or “to Allah” in Kufic Arabic script. Kufic is the oldest calligraphic form of the various Arabic scripts. Kufic was prevalent in manuscripts from the 8th to 10th centuries, and its presence coincides with the period of the tomb. It indicates that there was a direct(probably commercial) relationship between the Viking tribes of northern Europe and the Arab Caliphate empire. The new study also confirms that this relationship is older than we thought.
This well-preserved ring probably made by an Arab goldsmith. The researchers noted that the metal frame of the ring is in mint condition, suggesting that it had a few or no other owners in between before being buried with its owner in the 9th century.
"Maybe the woman herself was from the Islamic world, or perhaps a Swedish Viking got the ring, by trade, theft, or by visiting a Muslim country" researchers said.