An amateur treasure hunter in the United Kingdom may have just unearthed an artifact linked to Robin Hood, the heroic outlaw lauded in English folklore for "stealing from the rich to give to the poor," reports The Sun.

Mark Thompson, a metal detector hobbyist, was exploring the Nottinghamshire woodlands on a whim when his detector startled him with a beep. Expecting to unearth some loose change or metal debris, he was understandably surprised when he saw that first glint of gold.

“I had been out metal detecting with a group for about 20 minutes when I heard the signal,“ he said. "I was really excited when I saw that it was gold, but I didn’t realize at that point just how significant it might be."

What Thompson had dug up was a decorative gold ring that dated to the 14th century, now estimated to be worth more than $85,000. But here's the real hitch: it was found within the boundaries of the famed Sherwood Forest, the former stomping grounds of Robin Hood. The dates also crossover with Robin Hood's time. It's therefore quite possible that this ring — clearly once belonging to someone of high class — could have been stolen by Robin Hood himself, allotted for redistribution to the poor.

Of course, that link won't be possible to prove, but it's a fun fantasy to imagine. It's sure to add to the value of the decorative item. The ring is officially undergoing tests at the British Museum to authenticate it as treasure, and Thompson, as the ring's discoverer, will be compensated for the value of the find.

The engravings on the ring are believed to depict an infant Christ on one side, and an unidentified female saint on the other. The ring's stone could be compared to one used on the tomb of former Archbishop of Canterbury William Wittlesey, who died in 1374.

Given that Thompson earns a modest living spray painting fork lift trucks, the find holds additional symbolic value. Perhaps the ring was once dropped or lost during a raid by Robin Hood himself. It's only appropriate that it should be found by a working class man today, even if it took several centuries to finally get redistributed.

Bryan Nelson ( @@brynelson ) writes about everything from environmental problems here on Earth to big questions in space.

Decorative ring that dates to time of Robin Hood unearthed in Sherwood Forest
Could Robin Hood have stolen this ring from the rich to give to the poor?