Israeli Dekel Ben Shitrit saw an old ring among the weeds with the image of a human figure engraved on the front. After turning it in to the Israel Antiquities Authority, researchers say the image could depict Saint Nicholas of Nazareth:
The ring was examined by the IAA’s Dr. Yana Tchekhanovets, an expert on Byzantine-era archaeology. The superbly preserved artifact bears the image of a bald man bearing a stick, whom Tchekhanovets believes represents St. Nicholas holding a bishop’s staff. . .
Nicholas was the patron saint of wayfarers, including pilgrims and sailors in the eastern Christian world, Tchekhanovets explains. Christian pilgrims coming from all over the Byzantine Empire – including Turkey, the Balkans, Greece and Russia – would often wear icons of Nicholas to hopefully ward off trouble, she says: This ring could well have belonged to a pilgrim.