Tag Archives: runsten

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

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The Karlevi rune stone, Vickleby parish, Öland (Öl 1)

I promised to get back to you with some further information on the Karlevi rune stone.

It is placed on the island Öland in Vickleby parish and has the signum Öl 1. The inscription is dated to ca 1000 AD. Part of the inscription on the Karlevi rune stone is written in dróttkætt, an Iron Age metre. It is the only rune stone with a complete dróttkætt on it. The name in itself is interesting; drótt is a collective word that can be translated into; a chieftain or someone who had sworn retainers. In other words dróttkætt could be translated into a verse or metre suitable for a chieftain or court of sort. It includes two  kenningar, a kenning is a euphemism for something, often euphemistically.

The inscription1:

s-a… –(s)- i(a)s * satr * aiftir * si(b)(a) * kutha * sun * fultars * in hons ** lithi * sati * at * u * -ausa-th-… +: fulkin : likr : hins : fulkthu : flaistr (:)* uisi * that * maistar * taithir : tulka * thruthar : traukr : i : thaimsi * huki * munat : raith:uithur : ratha : ruk:starkr * i * tanmarku : –ntils : iarmun**kruntar : urkrontari : lonti

Inscription in latin letters:  IN NONIN-  +HE… …

The first strophe is quite ordinary: “This stone is set up in memory of…” The second strophe goes as follows:

Folginn liggr hinn’s fylgðu

(flestr vissi Þat) mestar

Dáðir dolga Þrúdar

Draugr í Þeimsi haugi

Mun-at reið-Viðurr ráda

Rógstarkr í Danmǫrku

Endils iǫrmungrundar

Ørgrandari landi

Translation into English:

This stone is set up in memory of Sibbi Gódhi/Godhi, son of Foldarr, and his retinue set on … Hidden lies the one whom followed (most know that) the greatest deeds, Thrud’s warrior of battles, in this mound. Never will a more honest, hard-fighting ‘wagon-Vidhurr’ upon Endill’s expanses rule the land in Denmark. [This stone is placed in memory of Sibbi the good, Fuldarr’s son, and his retinue placed on … … He lies concealed, he who was followed by the greatest deeds (most men knew that), a chieftain (battle-tree of [the Goddess] Thrúdhr) in this howe; Never again shall such a battle-hardened sea-warrior (Vidhurr-of-the-Carriage of [the Sea-king] Endill’s mighty dominion ( = God of the vessels of the the sea) ), rule unsurpassed over land in Denmark.]  In latin letters: In the name of Jesus(?) …

The stone was erected for the chieftain Sibbe, Foldar’s son, on the stone he is called dólga Þrúdar draugur; the last word draugur is a well known kenning for ‘warrior, doer, performer of battles’, dólg means ‘hostility, strife, battle’ and Þrúdar is the name of one of Thor’s daughters, a goddess in norse mythology. According to Sven B.F. Jansson2 the translation should be something like; executor, performer of the goddess in battle or warrior, warlord.

Another interesting passage in the runic text is the word another kenning, devided into two strophes: reið-Viðurr + Endils iǫrmungrund. Endill is the name of a Sea-king, iǫrmungrund ‘mighty ground’, reið means ‘a wagon (chariot)’ and Viðurr is another name for the god Odin. This could be interpreted as; The God of ships (wagons of the sea) is the Sea-King (or warrior), according to Klaus Düwel3 – in this case Sibbe might be seen as the Sea King or perhaps that he sails with the sea-King or is with Odin. The word iǫrmungrund is also interesting as it appears in Beowulf and Grimnismál as well which puts it in a larger geographical context than just Öland as do the mentioning of Denmark.

The latin inscription is also interesting:  IN NONIN-  +HE… … It has been interpreted as In the name of Jesus(?) … … So the inscription is also part of a Christian context both regarding the letters and religion.

Magnus Reuterdahl

More information:

  1. The runic database Samnordisk runtextdatabas
  2. Jansson, Sven B.F. 1997. Runes in Sweden.
  3. Düwel, Klaus 2001. Runenkunde, dritte Auflage.r, troligen naturligt.

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


Uppgränna 2009

 Uppgränna 1

A few weeks ago I passed Uppgränna, a small community just north of Gränna on the east shore of lake Vättern. Uppgränna is a beautiful small community beneath the shadow of the ruin Brahehus. Brahehus was built in 1650 and destroyed in a fire 1708, more info and pictures can be seen here.

Uppgränna Brahehus

Uppgränna Brahehus 2

Besides the view one can also see this rune stone (Sm 122) in Uppgränna.

Sm 122

Inscription; suin : risþi : stina : þesi : eftiR : oslak : auk : eftiR : kuta : sun : hons : en : oslaks : uas : bruþiR : suins :

Translation; Sven raised these stones after Áslakr and after Goti, his son. And Áslakr was Sven’s brother.

The inscription indicates that Sven raised more stones than one.

Minnessten Uppgränna kapell

Only a few meters from the rune stones is a spring, St. Gertruds spring, by which a small chapel, Helga korsets kapell (the chapel of the holy cross) was built during the Middle Ages and served in the 1700s, it is also said that there was a grave field with mounds here. Of the chapel there is nothing left and as far as I know there are no visible traces of the cemetery either, though the source is still filled fresh water, but it is on private land.

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


Three medieval churches, two rune stones and a mound.

I haven’t been lazy I just haven’t had access to the internet the last few days. I arrived in Luleå late Sunday night after a 10 hour drive and has since been working on an excavation, more on that later on. Consequently I will publish three post today of which this is the first.

Saturday I spent in Linköping with my fiancée, we took a drive in the countryside to watch some churches and rune stones, and we scored gold.

Our first stop was Ledberg church, the church is built during the 19th century on the place where the medieval one once stood. So the church itself isn’t all that interesting but ca 100 meter south of the church is a great mound called Ledbergs kulle (hill). The mound is the biggest one in Östergötland and it is probably built during the Iron Age (ca 800-1050 AD) but might be as old as from the 6th century AD.

As you can see the top is a bit flat, as one climbs the mound one can see a small fördjupning at the top and of course the great view.

At the information sign I learned that there was a rune stone by the church at the cemetery. I have to say that the lack of information signs showing where there are rune stones in Östergötland are really crappy. At several stones there is nothing that gives it away, here it is mentioned on a information sign regarding another monument, and this rune stone, Ög 181, is a real gem with carvings (images) from the Old Norse mythology.

The runic inscription on the front is as follows; (b)isi : sati : st(n) : þ(a)s(i) : iftiR : þurkut : u—–þ- : faþu(r)

Translated into English; Bisi placed this stone in memory of Þorgautr … his father.

 

The runic inscription on the front is as follows; : sin : uk : þu : kuna : baþi : þmk:iii:sss:ttt:iii:l(l)l

Translated into English; And Gunna, both. Thistle, mistletoe, casket. The last part has been interpreted as a spell or curse.

The pictures have been interpreted as images from the story of Ragnarök. On the backside is an image of Fenrisulven, the brother of Midgårdsormen, biting Odin in his foot.

At this sign I would expect an information sign with a bit more information than is available today, there information is very basic and only in Swedish, this one deserves more.

After this visit we went on to Björkeberg church, a very pretty church with a lovely small absid.

A thought that ran trough my head was that the small kor and the absid have the size of a stave church and that this possibly was the first Romanesque church and that the ship was built later on. At this point another negative comment; I miss information signs about the medieval churches in Östergötland like the ones in for example Kronobergs County.

 

At the doorstep of one to the small door to the sacristy an old grave stone has been reused a gotten a new function. The church was not open for visitors so we couldn’t see the inside.

The next and last stop was another gem; Kaga church and it was open for visitors. The oldest parts of Kaga church are from the 12th century, this includes the tower and the main building. The south entrance room was added in the 17th century and the sacristy in the 18th century.

A walled in rune stone, Ög 103, can be found in one of the outer walls. There’s no road pointer for this one either. Another rune stone has been found here but is now placed in the public library at Linköping.

The runic inscription on the front is as follows; tufi : raisti : stain : þinsi * iftiR : liþbufa * faþur * sin *

Translated into English; Tófi raised this stone in memory of Lið-Bófi, his father.

Well inside the church we was amazed by the beautiful paintings and relics. The southern entrance door is from the 12th century and one of the oldest in Östergötland.

A lion holding a man in his mouth, it has probably been part of the original south gate.

The paintings visible in the church are from the 15th century. There are also paintings from the 12th century but these can only be seen from the church vind. That’ll be for another time.

 

In conclusion a great day with great stops, in Östergötland county is lots and lots to see for those who are interested but the lack road pointers probably makes many miss them and the lack of good information signs at the sites is a loss for those who happens to stop at them.

Magnus Reuterdahl


Rune stone Vg 90

On our way home we made a quick stop at the rune stone Vg (Västergötland) 90 at Torestorp in Håkantorp parish.

Besides the runic inscription there is also the ornamentation, on this stone a cross. It is dated to the Viking Age. As you can see it isn’t all that easy to read it as it looks today. It is high time for the National Heritage Board or the County Administrative Board to repaint the runic inscription as well as make a new information sign.

When I visited the stone this sign produced by Falbygdens museum where at place. It has clearly seen better days and is only printed in Swedish.

The inscription is as follows

burþiR * sati * stin * þonsi * iftiR * h(i)–o * sun * sin * harþa * kuþan * trik

Translated into English:

Bróðir placed this stone in memory of <hi–o> his son, a very good valiant man.

One could be lead to believe that Bróðir should be translated to brother but it is more likely, in this case, that Bróðir is a name. At the end of the inscription it is stated that the stone is erected in memory of Bróðirs son.

Magnus Reuterdahl


A rune stone in Byarum parish (Sm 55).

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.

runsten_vy.jpg

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.

runsten.jpg

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.

jarnvagsvall.jpg

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.

Magnus Reuterdahl


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