Sm 16 a rune stone in Kronoberg County

This lovely rune stone (Sm 16) is to be found in the parish of Östra Torsås in Kronoberg County in Nöbbele and is dated to the Viking Age (ca 790-1050). Most rune stones in Sweden are not from the Viking age but from the middle ages.

The inscription on this one is interesting as it is written in the verse meter of fornyrdislag. This metre, along with málaháttr is the most common in ancient German, Anglo-Saxon and Norse-Icelandic poetry, though it is not common upon rune stones. The most common inscriptions are transcribed into a formula that goes something like this; X erected this stone over X beloved father/mother/son/daughter. God save his/her soul/spirit. This type of inscriptions are normally dated to the middle ages.

Rune stone Sm 16

The rune stone bears inscriptions on two sides, the south and the east. This picture (2006) shows the east side. Photo: Magnus Reuterdahl.

Since my visit in 2006 the runes has been repainted. (I will post a few more pictures (as soon as I’m back in Växjö).  The inscriptions is first transliterated into Latin letters and then transcribed. This transliteration and these transcripts are from the Samnordisk runtextdatabas. In this database almost all runic texts are collected, ca 6000.

Transliterated: rostein * auk * eilifR * aki : auk * hakun : reisþu * þeiR * sueinaR * iftiR sin * faþur * kubl keni*likt * ftiR * kala * tauþan : þy : mun * ko… … -m kitit * uerþa * meþ * sin * lifiR * auk * stafiR * run

Transcribed: Hróðsteinn ok Eilífr, Áki ok Hákon reistu þeir sveinar eptir sinn fôður kuml kennilikt æftiR Kala/Kalla dauðan. Þy mun go[ðs manns u]m gætit verða, meðan stæinn lifiR ok stafiR runa.

Transcribed to English: Hróðsteinn and Eilífr (and) Áki and Hákon, these lads raised the remarkable monument in memory of their father, in memory of Kali/Kalli the deceased. So the good man will be commemorated while the stone and the rune-staves live.

//Magnus Reuterdahl


About Magnus Reuterdahl

I am an archaeologist/Osteologist from Sweden. My main intrest lays in north Euorpean archaeology in, preferbly the prehistory of the late iron age and the neolithic periods. I've also got a strong intrest for Chinese archaeology, especially the neolithc Yangshao culture. I also write about cultural heritage and cultural history. Mitt namn är Magnus Reuterdahl, jag är arkeolog och osteolog och arbetar företrädesvis i Sverige även om jag gjort ett par vändor till Kina. På den här bloggen skriver jag om mitt yrke, om fornlämningar, kulturarv och kulturhistoria m m. View all posts by Magnus Reuterdahl

5 responses to “Sm 16 a rune stone in Kronoberg County

  • Katarina

    I am just wondering if you know what material the rune stone(s) were made of, since I though it was granite at first but others are saying marble.

  • Magnus Reuterdahl

    Hallo Katarina

    Rune stones are made of several kinds of rocks. If memory serves me correctly the most usual are granite (In Sweden there are more than 950 rune stones made upon this material), limestone (In Sweden there are more than 500 rune stones made upon this material) and gneiss (In Sweden there are ca 150 rune stones made upon this material). There are a few runic inscriptions made upon marble, I know of these six; Four of these are from Norway (N) and they are dated to middle ages (N 270, N 287, N 440, N 446), X ByFv1970;248 can be found in Hagia Sofia in Istanbul, Turkey and X ByNT1984;32 $ is made upon a marble lion and was found in Porto Leone, Pireus, Greece. Today it can be found in Venice, Italy. Besides this there are many runic inscriptions on other types of objects than rune stones for example on bones, tree artefacts and different objects of metal.


  • Kris

    Have you ever seen the immages found on some of the rune stones on small rocks (to be held in the hand)? I believe they were used to tell the future or something of the sort. If so do you have any history / information on them?

    • Magnus Reuterdahl

      Hi Kris,

      first it’s not common to find artefacts with runic inscriptions though runes can be found on almost any type of artefact made of bone, tree, leather, metal or stone from the Iron Age and fourth. The inscriptions vary from a few runes to a single word or a name to small texts. In some cases it can be connected to magic or beliefs from the age, for example when found on a weapon or on offerings in a grave etc.

      That said I’m sorry to tell you that I do not know of any finds of small rocks with runes of the type you describe. From your question I think that you are thinking of the prediction techniques that are now used in connection with the runes, these are as I understand it basically taken from Tarot cards rituals and such.

      Best wishes

      Magnus Reuterdahl

  • Christina Österlund

    Hej Magnus!
    Jag undrar varför stenen sm 16 är liten och varför den kallas för kuml kænnilikt?
    I översättningen i rundatabasen är det översatt till endast god man, men från isländska till svenska betyder det ju en gammal klok man.
    Har du tid att förklara skulle jag bli tacksam.
    Mvh/ Christina Österlund, Norrköping.

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