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With this ring … remember that you must die


National Museum Wales

Zelda Caldwell - published on 08/12/21

An archaeological find unearthed in northern Wales offers insight into the lives of the medieval rich.

A gold ring, engraved with the words “Memento mori’ and inlaid with an enamel skull, was among the treasures discovered recently by amateur archaeologists near Carreghofa Castle in Wales.

The ring dates between1550 and 1650, and was probably owned by a wealthy Welshman, according to the National Museum of Wales, reported

“This is a rare example of a Tudor or early Stuart memento mori ring with a clear Welsh provenance,’ said Dr Mark Redknap, deputy head of collections and research at National Museum Wales.

It offers invaluable insight into the lives of people living at that time.

“Its sentiment reflects the high mortality of the period, the motif and inscription acknowledging the brevity and vanities of life,” Redknap said.

The neatly engraved script spells out the words “memento mori,” or “remember your death.” The phrase would have been familiar to someone living in the Middle Ages. It refers to the spiritual practice of reflecting on one’s death. 

As Sr. Theresa Aletheia Noble, FSP, a modern-day proponent of the practice, explains, “Reflecting on death is not a morbid affair; it is a healthy and often healing practice that helps us accept the inevitable with hope. The eternal life promised in Jesus Christ is our ultimate, hoped-for end. Embracing the reality of death helps us live a better life now.”

To take part in the revival of this medieval practice, you may want to check out Sr. Theresa Aletheia’s Memento Moridevotionals on sale at her website.

Perhaps Sister could be persuaded to have copies of this gorgeous skull ring made — we’re thinking they’d sell like hotcakes. Short of that, you can acquire your own Memento Mori Decade Bracelet at her online shop.

ArchaeologyArtSpiritual Life

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