The aim of this session (or sessions) is to discuss changes in the runestone tradition and in the perception of monuments, by contemporary as well as modern audiences. Previous meetings of the Runes, Monuments and Memorial Carvings Network have helped identify common traits in the use of runic monuments in Scandinavia and Norse settlement areas abroad through the Viking Age and the middle Ages. The meetings have also, however, raised awareness among the participating scholars of the wide variety there is in the tradition of runic monuments. This session will contextualize several of the variations and transformations of runic monuments and the runestone tradition though time and place and discuss their implications for their interpretation and decipherment.

The runic monuments discussed in the session are the corpus of Norwegian runestones, runic monuments in England, Early Christian grave monuments, Runic inscriptions on previously existing stone monuments in the Northern Isles, especially ‘elite’ runestones, and MINE. The seven speakers will discuss transformations of individual monuments as well as variety and changes in the runic monument traditions. We would like to end the session(s) with a general discussion of how these aspects and contexts influence the decipherment and interpretation of the runic monument.