It is, without doubt, one of the most chilling moments of Rosemary Sutcliff's 1954 novel, The Eagle of the Ninth.
Beyond, all was shadow, but as Marcus moved forward with the light, past the midnight offering, the shadows drew back, and he saw that they were standing in a vast circular chamber, the stone walls of which ran up out of the candle-light and seemed to bend together high overhead into some kind of dome....
The place was empty, and its emptiness seemed to add a hundredfold to its menace. Marcus did not know what he had expected to find here, but he had not expected to find nothing—nothing at all, save that at the exact centre of the floor lay a great ring of what appeared to be white jadite, a foot or more across, and a superbly shaped axehead of the same material, arranged so that one corner of the blade very slightly overlapped the ring.
That was all.
Esca's hand was on his arm, and his voice whispering urgently into his ear: 'It is strong magic. Do not touch it!' (Sutcliff 176-7)