By the road between Jönköping and Växjö I’ve seen a sign marking a rune stone but I never had the time to stop, last Friday I did.
Sm 55 is situated in Byarum parish, Jönköping County, Småland at the river Lagan. It stands more or less in its original place but has been turned, originally the inscription was facing south now it face west southwest.
The inscription seems very clear and well made, this is a misperception. The inscription is difficult at best to make sense of. Most has chosen not to and declared it a “nonsense inscription”. This might indicate that the person making the stone was ignorant or poorly skilled in the art of writing and reading runes, it might also be that it is written in dialect or that the meaning has been lost, for example an odd formulae.
Some have tried to interpret it, in the database Samnordisk runtextdatabas it has been transliterated as follows:
: hakR : kulkR : aukR * kuþkurR : riþ : itRn : þan : isunR : auti : Rtin f
This has been interpreted as:
Haki(?), Kolki(?), Auki(?), mœðgur(?) reistu stein þenna, synir, eptir Stein(?), f[ôður](?).
Translated to English:
Haki(?), Kolki(?), Auki(?), mother and daughter(s)(?) raised this stone, the sons, in memory of Steinn(?), the father(?).
Samnordisk runtextdatabas is a database that holds information about most known runic inscriptions, today more than 6000. The inscriptions are presented in both transliterated and normalized form; there is also an English translation of the inscription. The database also contain information regarding their whereabouts on what object they are found, dating etc. Best of all its free.
Next to the rune stone is the remains of a rail road embankment that was built in 1903-04. The railway went between Bratteborg, a station on the railway between Jönköping -Vaggeryd, to Fägrida. The main purpose for this was to transport peat. The railway was discontinued during WW2 and the rails sold to Germany. In the beginning the cargo was transported on a wagon pulled by horses, these were replaced by a steam wagon ca 1906 and in the 20’s by a locomotive. Today one can see parts of the embankments.