Tag Archives: Rune stone

A visit to Högom

The other day I visited one of the better known ancient monuments in Västernorrlands county; the Högom grave field in Sundsvall. When most hear about big mounds they think of Uppsala Mounds or other big mounds in the lake Mälaren region or further south in Sweden, but there are also several big mounds in the north.

Today there are 10 mounds at the grave field, but there are have been more, at least 7 have been excavated or been dug away over the years. The mounds that are visible are between 5-40 meter in diameter. Five of the visible mounds are excavated and rebuilt, three big mounds and 2 smaller. Excavtions have made in 1949-50, 1954, 1956, 1960 and 1984. The finds are rich, some of the graves are chamber graves, and they are dated to 400-500 AD. Among the finds are east and west land bronze pots, weapons, wine glasses, parts of horse equipment etc. etc.

Finds of an older settlement has been found underneath and in between the graves, among them post holes from at least one long house.

The grave field, the house foundations and the findings in Högom is outstanding. They tell a tale of a centre of power not unlike those found at Uppsala or Bertnem in Norway.

On the grave field is also a rune stone, it’s not on it’s original place, it has been moved several times and the original placement is unfortunatly been lost. This one of only 18 runic inscriptions in Medelpad. This has the signum M 11 and is dated to the Viking Age/Middle Age.

The inscription is:

kunuþr auk þurkairþ| |þaun -itu raisa st(a)(i)(n) aftiR þurstain sun sin in aun auk auntr bruþr hons

Gunnviðr and Þorgerðr, they had the stone raised in memory of Þorsteinn, their son. And Aun and Eyndr were his brothers.

A fantastic place, come and visit it 🙂

Magnus Reuterdahl


Pictures from Öland

During weekends past I’ve taking the car for a few tours around Öland. Here are few pictures on a few of the great cultural heritage sites just waiting for visits.

Borgholm castle ruin, just south of Borgholm.

 At the southern tip of the island is the lighthouse Långe Jan (Tall Jan)

  

This grave field (raa 24:1) is situated in Segerstad parish its, it’s rich in combinations of different grave forms, mounds of different size and shape, stones that mark graves etc. These grave fields are normallt dated to the Iron Age though some individual graves might be older.

 

Rune stone Öland 18 (Öl 18). The inscription translated to English reads Ingjaldr and Nefr and Sveinn, they raised (the stone) in memory of Hróðmarr, their father.

 

Ancient fort Triberga. There is an ongoing discussion how these forts has been used, as a refuge in trouble times or something else. Most of them were build during the Iron Age though has also been used during the middle ages. In some there are remains of houses and in some burials have been found.

 

Finally a wind mill, a common site on the island. I’ll be back with more in coming posts.

Magnus Reuterdahl


In search for runes

Been writing a few reports lately, nothing fancy as the results were more or less =0, e.g. no finds worth mentioning. While doing so I’ve needed to stop by the archives a few times and as soon you’ll open one of those dusty bins you’ll find something fun –that has nothing to do with your current affairs. This time I stumbled on a reference of a runic carving in wood.

According to the note it should be found at Eriksörestugan aka Kalgrenstugan – a wooden house in Eriksöra at Öland. Four runes are mentioned: i t a f, where the last one is facing the wrong direction. The house is a Ryggåsstuga, a one storey wooden house without inner ceilings. This type of house was common amongst the peasants up until at least the end of the 18th century.

Didn’t find much or rather nothing regarding this on the web or in my books. What I did find out is that house was restored in the 1930’s, the note regarding the inscription wasn’t dated but might have been older than that, so it’s possible the inscription is no more. Except from this I’ve found two other inscriptions on Ryggåsstugor, both in Älvdalen, Dalarna County, D Rv314 and D Rv305 dated to 1828 and 1830-1855. Though I don’t know what those inscriptions says.

Well if you can’t find it on-line you’ll have to go on tour – Eriksöre here I come 🙂  – I’ll update when I get home!

I found the house and according to the note the inscription should be  on the short side wall next to the window.

…but I’m sorry to say I couldn’t find any runes 😦 Then again I couldn’t come home runeless so I took a little drive to Karlevi stenen – a nearby runestone. A quite aspecial one at that, the inscription is written in a verse called Drottkvätt and there are also a few latin letters on the side. I’ll get back to you regarding the text in a few days.

Magnus Reuterdahl


A rune stone in need of TLC

When I was in Västergötland a few weeks ago I passed this rune stone (Vg 195, Tranemo 3:1). As it stands, without a information sign, it needs to be repainted. Aaccording to the National Heritage database of ancient monuments (FMIS) it was last done in 1979 – if so the paint has lasted well, but it’s beginning to be difficult to read the runes not only due to the lack of paint but also due to weathering. Repainting is not always the best solution as it in some cases it seems to have hasted the decline of the stone surface, and painted runes is not in itself necessary for the understanding of  the monument. In most cases I believe that an information sign, if good, is better. It can help to give a context for the monument – why was it made? Who made it? Who could read or write runes? What does the runes say?  How it can be interpreted etc.

Behind the rune stone is a small piece that seems to have been chipped off. According to the text in FMIS this has probably been done before the stone was made into a rune stone. I would rather guess that it’s been done during the process of making the rune stone as I don’t believe that the stone stood on that spot on beforehand but rather has been placed at that spot. If the chip was accidental or on purpose is on the other hand another question.

The inscription should be as follows, translated into English; “Assur placed this stone after (in memory of) Anunde, his brother”, the inscription is formed around a cross.

According to the Nordic rune text database the transcription is (was); asur * sati * stin * þani * anuta * bruþur * si

Part of the inscription is no longer readable due to damages, as fas as my transcription goes these runes a readable today;…asu…  …(a)ni* iftiR * anuta * bruþur * si.

In other words this rune stone is in need of some TLC.

Magnus Reuterdahl


The rune stone of Ostersund

This is a post that is long overdue, last fall sometime in November someone vandalized the Rune stone J RS1928;66 $ in Ostersund by spraying red paint on it. I’ve been set on visiting the rune stone that is placed on Froson, ca 2 km from the centre of Ostersund, since then and that happened now.

Though difficult to see on this picture the red paint is still visible, though rather week. I guess that some initial cleaning of the stone has been done. It is also possible that its been decided that this cleaning is the best way to go about it, that it would damage the stone more to do a harder scrub or use other chemicals etc.

A picture from before the vandalization is available at the National Heritage board Kulturmiljöbild (Cultural heritage pictures).

The inscription is interesting as the inscription is the earliest mentioning of the province Jamtland and also says that Jamtland been Christianized. The inscription is usually dated to ca 1050 A.D.

Inscription; Austmaðr, GuðfastaR sun, let ræisa stæin þenna ok gærva bro þessa ok han let kristna Iamtaland. Asbiorn gærði bro, Tryn/Trionn ræist ok Stæinn runaR þessaR.

Inscription translated to English; Austmaðr, Guðfastr’s son had this stone raised and this bridge made and he had Jamtaland Christianized. Ásbjôrn made the bridge, Trjónn(?) and Steinn carved these runes.

Magnus Reuterdahl


Summer vacation 2009 part 6; Ostergotland

On our way south we passed a few rune stones in Ostergotland. First out was Ög 190 in Vikingstad parish. It is dated to the 11th century and the inscription is “…erected this stone after Agute a good…”.

 Ög 190 runsten

As you can see the rune stone has been mended but some fragments are missing.

Next stop was the three rune stones; Ög 207-209, along an abandoned road (hålväg) by an prehistoric grave field in Viby parish. The stones are dated to the 11th century. Ög 207 and 208 are in their original place while Ög 209 was found nearby in the 1860’s and later placed here. The grave field predates the rune stones. The grave filed is used during the Iron Age but might have used also during the Bronze Age.

ög 207-209 and the abandoned road

The abandoned road, it’s known as the old country road in sources from the 17th century but is very possible as old as or older than the rune stones.

Ög 207

 Ög 207

Redulv and Gere erected this stone after Ofeg, their uncle, a good farmer.

Ög 208

 Ög 208

Vige erected this stone after Ofeg, his father.

Ög 209

Ög 209

Toste erected stone after Toke and Oruste, his nephews.

Magnus Reuterdahl


Summer vacation 2009 part 2

I’ll continue with one church and two rune stones;

Lohärads kyrka

At Loharads (Lohärads) church is U567. The oldest parts of the church are from the 13th century, it has been added to several times until it got its present looks during the 19th century. Within the church paintings from the late medieval times have been found and restored, sadly the church was looked so I have no pictures of these.

 U 567

The inscription on U 567 is, translated to English; Anund and Sven (?) and Ærnjjorn and Hægvid(?). Neither the runes nor the ornaments aren’t all that skilfully made, the inscription only holding names indicates that there might have been another stone.

 Lohärad kyrkas klockstapel

The bell tower is a bit odd and placed ca 150 m SW of the church next to a crossing of roads.

The next rune stone is U 573 at Kragsta.

U 573

Today it is very difficult to read as it is worn and it needs a new paint job. The inscription is interesting as it is a variant of a Germanic name giving principle where a part of the fathers name is a part of the sons name, it reads (translated to English); Alvgaut and Vigdjarf had this stone raised in memory of their father Vigi.

Magnus Reuterdahl


Summer vacation 2009 part 1

The last few days I’ve been on the road, as it’s me that means I’ve stopped at rune stones, churches and ancient remains. Yesterday we went NNW of Stockholm to Roslagen and Uppland and today we went through Sodermanland, Ostergotland to the northern parts of Smaland Counties. 

Karls kyrkoruin 1

Stop one, day one; the church ruin of Karl’s church ruin (Karls kyrkoruin) in Söderby-Karl parish (Raa 212:1).

Karls kyrkoruin 4

Karls kyrkoruin 3

Karls kyrkoruin 2

The church dates back to the 13th century. The oldest mention of the church is from 1287 ” Ecclesijs meis parrochialibus ….. Karlungskirkiu 1287”. It is a very nice ruin but there are no information signs at all except from the road sign.

Karls kyrkoruin skylt

An odd thing is the well in the NW part of the church. It’s ca 3-4 m deep and only protected by a tree lid (no warning signs). I’ve never seen a well inside of a church before. I guess this it’s not unique but it can’t be that usual as I’ve visited more than a few during the last decade and I can’t remember another one. In the well finds of medieval coins and a war hammer has been made and according to national registry of ancient monuments (FMIS) a cranium belonging to an adult woman has also been found in the well or just by it.

Karls kyrkoruin brunn 1

Karls kyrkoruin brunn 2

In the old entrance to the church are several fragments of one or more rune stones (U 583). In Samnordiskruntextdatabas only one fragment is mentioned. According to FMIS there should be two fragments. I saw at least three possibly four. Fragment 1-3 seems to belong to the same stone and the fourth, that I am not possibly sure has runes on it though I got that feel when on location –though on the photo I can’t identify any, are from another stone, if it is a rune stone.

U 583 Fragment 1

U 583 Fragment 1

 

U 583 Fragment 2
U 583 Fragment 2
U 583 (?) Fragment 3
U 583 (?) Fragment 3
Fragment 4 (runes or marks?)
Fragment 4 (runes or marks?)

In the entrance is also a rock with cup marks (not mentioned in FMIS)

Karls kyrkoruin skågropar

More information about the church is available at Stockholm County museum webpage (in Swedish) and FMIS (also in Swedish). 

Magnus Reuterdahl


Joy to the world (or at least to those who love runes)

Updated (2009-02-04) see red text and yet another update in green (2009-02-05)!

Good news from the National Heritage Board of (RAA) in Sweden; Runverket (The Rune agency) will get 2 trainees (link in Swedish). The posts are for five years and are open to those with a PhD in Scandinavian languages with a historic profile or a similar education. The aim is to develop new and deeper knowledge of runic writing, research rune stone makers, to do research on management and preservation, the climates impact etc.

Rune stone U 708
Rune stone U 708

These employments are possible by funds from Riksbankens jubileumsfond (the Bank of Sweden) and the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities.

I think this decision is one of the best news this year, so far, and I will salute it with a beer tonight (or I might just make a bridge to commemorate this decision).

I’d missed one thing; it is not two five-year openings but one for three years and one for two years.

My friend and colleague Johan from arkeologiforum.se informes me that it is 2 x 5 yrs after all; after the first two years there will an evaluation and if it falls out well then it will be another three years added. The more the merrier!

 

I’ve also been thinking about the term trainee;

In this case you’ll need a PhD to be qualified for the job. I personally connect the term trainee with something on a lesser level as a beginner or a novice. As I interpret the term trainee it is someone that is taught the trade from the inside, in this case I don’t feel that’s the case. Here RAA wants researchers to do research. Now learning and research is a lifelong process but when does the education stop and the work begin? To spend four years on post graduate program, getting a PhD and then get the title trainee feels a bit incapacitating in my view why not just call it a project employment or time limited employment as a runeologist.

Maybe I am in the wrong here; I’ll linger on it a bit longer and ponder over it for a while. Please leave a comment on your thoughts on this.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m still very pleased that Runverket gets more resources.

Magnus Reuterdahl


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