1,400-year-old gold ring with amethyst

IsraelThe ring discovered at an ancient winery could be an heirloom, belonging to a well-to-do and high-status person.

Gold ring with 1,400-year amethyst to prevent drunkenness

The gold ring with amethyst is more than 1,400 years old. Photo: IAA/Dafna Gazit

Israeli archaeologists found a gold ring with amethyst dating back to the 7th century, possibly even older, in the city of Yavne, Smithsonian on 4/11 reported. The ring weighing 5.11 grams was discovered at the site of a large-scale wine production in the Byzantine era.

The site of the ring’s excavation is very special considering the ancient legends of amethyst. “Many properties have been attributed to this gem, including preventing unpleasant hangovers and side effects of drinking,” said Amir Golani, archaeologist at the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA). , said.

The team found the ring near a warehouse used to store wine at the brewery. It was excavated in soil dating back to the 7th century, a tumultuous time when the Byzantine Empire lost control of the area to Arab Muslim forces. The ring may be pre-existing, but direct dating of inorganic objects such as metals and gems by means such as carbon isotope dating is often not possible.

Similar amethyst gold rings were common in Rome and may have been worn by the Yavne elite as far back as the 3rd century. The ring in the winery is likely heirloom and has passed down the generations. dating to the 7th century. At that time, both men and women wore the same rings. Whoever it is, the owner of this jewelry is a well-to-do person and has a high status.

“Finding an ancient ring with intact semi-precious stones is rare. The size and ostentation suggest it belonged to someone who wanted to show off his wealth,” Golani said.

“It is possible that the magnificent ring belonged to the owner of a large warehouse, a foreman, or simply an unlucky guest. That person lost the precious ring,” said archaeologist Elie Haddad, co-curator of the event. excavations by the IAA, commented.

The IAA made large-scale archaeological visits at Yavne to prepare for a construction project in advance. In addition to the winery, they also found many artifacts such as a colorful rock mosaic dating back 1,600 years, a 1,000-year-old chicken egg that was intact but was accidentally broken by researchers. . Last year, volunteers participating in excavations of the city discovered hundreds of coins minted from 1,100 years ago.

Amethyst comes from the Greek word “amethystos”, meaning not drunk, and is also related to “medhu”, meaning mead. The ancient Greeks sometimes attached amethysts to wine glasses or wore them while drinking in the hope of preventing intoxication. The link between amethyst and sanity dates back at least to the time of the Greek poet Asclepiades of Samos. He was born around 320 BC and mentioned this connection in a poem, according to the British Gem Society.

“Because of its blood-like color, amethysts, like rubies, were believed by ancient people to carry healing energy and powers,” explains Golani.

Thu Thao (Follow Smithsonian)

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