An ancient gold ring that was recently discovered at Thingvellir National Park, when the Thingvallakirkja church and its surroundings were being repaired in anticipation of the church’s 150th anniversary this year, can now be viewed at the National Museum of Iceland.
From Thingvellir. Photo by Páll Stefánsson.
A number of objects have surfaced from beneath a pavement by the church, the most significant of these being the ring, which is a signet ring.
It was discovered between paving stones and is likely to have been brought there with imported stratum, a press release from the museum states.
The ring is made of 12 carat gold and the stone is heliotrope, also known as bloodstone. Such stones were often used for seals. The seal is believed to be inscribed with the letters FI or J and also includes a shield and a cross and possibly a crown.
Archeologists believe that the pavement, discovered underneath the steps outside the church, belonged to an older church.
During an archeological excavation in 1999 the foundation of a timber church, probably dating back to the early 16th century, was found at the northern corner of Thingvallakirkja.
The pavement is at a similar depth so it might have belonged to that church, but that has yet to be confirmed.