A poison ring was found in Bulgaria during a recent excavation at the ruins of Cape Kailakra, where aristocrats lived during the 14th century.
While more than 30 pieces of jewelry have been discovered at the site, including pearl earrings and gold rings. However, none were as interesting to archaeologists as the bronze ring, which may have been a murder weapon.
It is believed the bronze ring was once owned by Dobrotitsa, a noble who ruled the Dobrudja region during the second half of the 14th century, reports NBC News.
There were several unexplained deaths among the nobles and aristocrats close to Dobrotitsa, according to local officials. The bronze ring was exquisitely crafted and was deliberately hollowed out, with a small hole that could have allowed its owner to sneak poison into a dinner party.
The poison ring, which was likely worn on the pinkie finger of a man’s hand, would have allowed the wearer to sneak poison into a glass with a flick of the finger.
The Huffington Post notes that researchers who found the poison ring believe it is the first of its kind to be discovered in Bulgaria. Poison rings date back to Roman times and were used up through the 16th and 17th centuries.
The ring was initially designed as a method of suicide when a person anticipated a violent or painful death. However, they were later adapted to be a murder weapon. The ring in question was likely used for the latter. It was likely imported from either Italy or Spain.
Bonnie Petrunova, deputy director of the National Archaeology Institute and Museum, believes that the ring played a part in the bitter conflict between Dobrotitsa and his son, Ivanko Terter. She explained that their feud wasn’t known by many, but that Ivanko was one of few who dared stand up to the leader.
It is unclear if the poison ring has been swabbed to see if any of the lethal liquid still remains.