Did this magical little crystal help the Vikings rape and pillage across the world?

Deep in the waters off Alderney, third largest of the Channel Islands, there lies the wreck of an Elizabethan warship.

Sunk there in 1592, it has surrendered many treasures to divers over the years. They include the armour, muskets and cannon proudly displayed in Alderney’s museum.

Magical crystal: New research suggests this is a fabled Viking sunstone, which has long been the stuff of legend

But it is an almost forgotten object, long hidden away in the museum’s storeroom, that may prove the most momentous find of all.

Salvaged from the depths in 2002, it looks like a bar of soap and is just as opaque, but only because its surface has been scratched and dulled by sand and seawater over hundreds of years.

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