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.

In der thematic session „Runic Graphemics“ sollen verschiedene Aspekte der Analyse runischer Allographen, der Entwicklung runischer Schriftsysteme und Schreibvarianten sowie Fragen der Dokumentation diskutiert werden. Neben den Runen in ihrer Verwendung als primäre Schriftsysteme sollen auch die Varianten der späteren gelehrten Tradition und die dort belegten Weiterentwicklungen einbezogen werden.

Als grundlegend für eine runische Graphematik müssen diagnostische Verfahren gelten, die zur Differenzierung zwischen runischen Allographen und anderen auf den Schriftträgern befindlichen Zeichen, wie z. B. Kapitaliszeichen, herangezogen werden können (vgl. Vortrag Ute Zimmermann). Damit in Zusammenhang steht implizit auch die Beschreibung und Differenzierung runischer Graphen, die schließlich Graphemen als den distinktiven Grund­einheiten der runischen Schriftsysteme zugeordnet werden können (vgl. Vorträge Gaby Waxenberger und Alessandro Palumbo). Graphemanalysen und Graphemsysteme müssen jedoch stets in Abhängigkeit von Sprachsystemen gesehen werden. Die Entwicklung dieser Sprachsysteme hat wiederum, in unterschiedlicher Ausprägung, vielfältige Schreibvarianten und Veränderungen innerhalb der runischen Schriftsysteme zur Folge (Vorträge Jana Krüger, Christiane Zimmermann). Die gelehrte Tradition zeigt darüber hinaus weitere Entwicklungen und Reinterpretationen belegter primärer Runenformen (Vorträge Alessia Bauer, Andreas Fischnaller). Eine zusammenhängende und übergreifende Dokumentation derartiger Analysen (digital oder in Form einer Papieredition) stellt dabei besondere Anforderungen an die Beschreibungssprache und Terminologie, die zudem historisch gewachsene Begriffsverwen­dungen berücksichtigen bzw. harmonisieren muss (Vorträge Kerstin Kazzazi, Edith Marold).

Handelsplatsen Birka på Björkö i Mälaren är en av portalplatserna inom skandinavisk och internationell vikingatidsforskning. Det är också en av de flitigast undersökta platserna.  Otaliga vetenskapliga arbeten har tagit sin utgångspunkt i det rikhaltiga fyndmaterial som genererats vid de många arkeologiska undersökningarna, men fortfarande finns många kunskapsluckor kvar att fylla.

Detta gäller inte minst de fynd av runstensfragment som allt sedan slutet av 1800-talet gjorts och som skulle kunna förtälja något om Björkös betydelse under 1000-talet e. Kr, dvs efter att Birka har upphört att fungera.

Totalt har dryga tiotalet fragment framkommit inom och i anslutning till Björkö by vilka har uppfattats härröra från (minst) tre olika stenar (U6, 7 och 8). Det senaste i raden påträffades i oktober 2012. Då samtliga funna fragment är av samma stenslag och tjocklek, bestämdes att det nu var högt tid att pröva om inte alla fragmenten egentligen härrörde från en och samma sten – inte tre olika.

Pusslet gick ihop. Tio av fragmenten visade sig ha passform med varandra. Visserligen saknas fortfarande många vitala bitar för att läsningen och motivet skall bli komplett, men en del kan rekonstrueras. Runstenen från Björkö by har ursprungligen varit omkring 2 meter hög och 1,5 meter bred. Den har en mångfaldig och i vissa avseenden unik ornamentik och genom bevarade delar av inskriften lär vi för första gången känna en av den sena vikingatidens invånare på Björkö – åtminstone till namnet.

Although much runological fieldwork has been undertaken over the years, little has been written about it. The procedures adopted by the field runologist, the problems encountered and their solutions, are matters that can often only be dimly glimpsed in the text of the edition or article that emerges as the end product of the fieldwork. At the First International Symposium of Runes and Runic Inscriptions in Ann Arbor Erik Moltke and Sven B.F. Jansson shared a few of the insights they had gained during a lifetime of examining inscriptions, while in a brief article in Fornvännen (1988) Bengt Lundberg gave a summary account of his experiences photographing rune-stones. But all in all, few have thought it worth recording in any detail the various activities that led to the accounts they eventually published.

Yet much in a runic corpus edition (or presentation of an individual inscription) depends on the documentation that underlies it. Inscriptions are preserved in variety of circumstances – in modern museums, primitive (and sometimes private) museums, churches, churchyards, ruinous buildings, rock faces, cairns, and yet more. Some of the sites may be difficult of access, and involve the runologist in discomfort or even peril. All of these factors can affect the reading ultimately arrived at. Some inscriptions are not preserved at all: they may have been lost a while ago or in recent times; they can turn up and then disappear again. The methods involved in documenting such examples must of necessity differ from those adopted in the case of objects readily available for inspection.

This paper will consider how the field runologist proceeds from conception to implementation. There will be discussion of the purposes of runological fieldwork, of what might be termed “best practice”, and of the trials and tribulations that may be met with on the way. The presentation will be enlivened by accounts of the hurdles Ray Page and I sometimes had to overcome in our quest for accurate documentation of the Scandinavian inscriptions of the British Isles.

Obwohl die Runenschrift in der Frühneuzeit auf Island als verpönt und verdächtig galt – wie uns Björn Jónsson in seinem Samtak um rúnir (1642) unterrichtet – vermehren sich ausgerechnet im 18. und 19. Jh. die Runeneinträge in isländischen Handschriften.

Dort stellen sie ein sekundäres Phänomen dar, das trotz Übereinstimmungen mit der gelehrten Tradition aus Skandinavien in mancherlei Hinsicht eine einzigartige Ausprägung aufweist.

In den isländischen runica manuscripta der Frühneuzeit etabliert sich somit eine gesonderte Tradition, bei der zusätzliche Zeichen hinzugefügt werden oder aber ‘Standardrunen’ umgewidmet werden. Als Beispiel sei die symmetrische u-Rune der Epigraphik erwähnt, die auf Island grundsätzlich als y-Rune angesehen wird, oder die linksläufige k-Rune als Zeichen für q.

Da die Alphabetrunen des Öfteren in mehr oder weniger umfangreichen Schriftsammlungen aufgeführt werden, bei denen die meisten Reihen als rúnir bzw. málrúnir  bezeichnet werden, stellt sich zunächst die Frage, ob eine Alphabetreihe echte Runenzeichen belegt und als Runenreihe insgesamt identifiziert werden kann.

In manchen Fällen handelt es sich um eine Mischschrift, bei der Runen zusammen mit runenähnlichen und erfundenen Zeichen stehen. ‚Ungenauigkeiten’ und Fehler können auf Unkenntnis des Schreibers basieren oder auf Zeichenvarianten, die anderswo unbekannt waren.

Man benötigt also einen Überblick über die gesamte Überlieferung, um entscheiden zu können, welche Einträge überhaupt in das Corpus der runica manuscripta aufgenommen werden sollen, und um dementsprechend damit operieren zu können.

Whilst the runica manuscripta of the English tradition (Derolez 1954, Derolez 1991), the Scandinavian rune poems (Heizmann 1998, Bauer 2003), their recording in the scholarly, early medieval treatise (De inventione litterarum), their occasional use as the writer’s signature and within the Old High German glosses have been comparatively well-researched  (Nievergelt 2009), this does not apply to the same extent to the use of runes in late medieval (German) manuscripts. Runes and runic alphabets are found far less frequently in these, for example within the foreign alphabets in the “Travels” of Sir John Mandeville or in a manuscript with medical recipes and an invocation of the devil (Prag, NB, Cod. XXIII F 129), finally also in magic treatise relating to the “Hermetic tradition” (Dresden, SLUB, Mscr. N 100).

However, the use of runes in late medieval manuscripts is hardly explained by the functions to which the runica manuscripta are normally attributed (Bauer 2003). Based on the finding that the debate with runica manuscripta is not just a runic problem in the narrow sense, but can also contribute to the understanding of medieval culture (Derolez 1954), the use and pragmatics of the late medieval runica manuscripta will be explored regarding the specific implications. The function of runes in late medieval manuscripts should be determined at the same time between the poles of secret written forms, readability and illegibility.

There is a great variety of spelling of the same words and word forms in the runic inscriptions. This is something you cannot find in present-day texts. Obviously, the main reason for this spelling variability is the absence of any spelling standards.

The main goal of this study was to find the factors of the orthographic variability for a number of words. The most frequently occurring word forms (stein, reisti, broður, þenna, eptir, hjalpi etc.) from the memorial runestones of Uppland, Södermanland and Östergötland were studied.

The factors causing orthographic variability can be different in nature. To detect them we have to look at the inscriptions both from the point of view of epigraphy and historical phonetics.

The following reasons (factors) of orthographic variability were detected: insufficient number of signs in the runic alphabet; the appearance of new signs; the position of similar runes next to each other in a word; phonetic changes; dialectal differences; mistakes.

These factors are related to the phonetic and the graphic systems of the language. They are not equally influential, i.e. they cover a different number of word forms, they may have an effect on.

The results of the study are presented in a diagram showing graphically the degree of influence of each factor on each of the studied word form.

Scandinavian Viking-Age runic epigraphy is according to Sawyer (2000, 8) always rendered in Old Scandinavian. However, there remains a tiny residue of 11th–12th c. epigraphs, which are reminiscent of texts in a natural language, yet not amenable to a Scandinavian (or Latin) reading and hence usually considered to be magical, encrypted, or nonsensical. Eliasson (2007, 2010) analyzed one ‘incomprehensible’ runic monument, the Danish Sørup Stone (Fyn 47). Unable to find cogent evidence for the disparate surmises just mentioned, he tested the alternative hypothesis that Fyn 47 might be phrased in an as yet unidentified language. Attempts at matching Fyn 47 structurally/lexically to North and West European languages were generally unsuccessful. Merely with regard to Basque (Bq.), a set of systematic parallels was found. This paper goes beyond those two studies in examining in addition parts of the similarly ‘incomprehensible’ inscription of Øster Marie Stone 6 (Bh 56), while also drawing on the Suldrup grave-slab (NJy 54) and three non-epigraphic inscriptions from Bornholm, Bergen and Trondheim. Several properties of these inscriptions suggest that they might be written in the same language. Corresponding to Bq. structural, lexical and onomastic elements, we find (∆ = unreadable rune; certain transliterations slightly simplified): ‑k (erg.), ‑k (pl.), ‑i/‑li (dat.; allomorph ‑li predating change of intervocalic l > r), ‑u-/-o– (proximal suffix ‑o-), s– (3rd pers. subj. past tense z- in verbs) ˌss / ƨs / þþ (pre-dative marker –ts– in verbs; orthographic variation deriving from lack of affricate symbols in runic writing), ‑n (past tense), ‑to (adverbializer), dem. pron. hla (hura ‘that’), verb ion– (io ‘beat’), kinship terms snr (senar ‘husband’), osu[a] (osaba ‘uncle’), iseya (izeba ‘aunt’, or as name *Izeba), cognomens itcsihki / itgi..∆iki (modern Etcheheguy, etc.; again difficulty in rendering an affricate), ngus– (abbr. for Nagusi), and others. As for epigraphic abbreviatory practice, an intriguing answer emerges for the long-standing riddle of the sequences ku·i.. | nik (Bh 56) / k:nik: (NJy 54) / kui:n∆∆..li (N-34071; cf. Hagland n.d.), attached to pictures of two processional crosses and to the image of a man. Recalling the INRI-formula, *ku:i:nik appears to be an abbreviation for Gure Jauna, Nazareteko Jesu Kristo ‘Our Lord Jesus Christ from Nazareth’, on N-34071 even in the dative case. Whereas it has not been possible to substantiate other explanations of Fyn 47 and Bh 56, the comparison to Bq. yields — with provisos for customary difficulties in runic decipherment — a reasonably cohesive inscription-internal account, which is supported by cross-inscriptional parallels.

Jag undervisar nybörjare i svenska på gymnasienivå på Lyceum 1553 im. V.I.Vernadskogo, Moskva. Som fördjupning av språkkursen forskar mina studenter om Sveriges kultur och historia, bland annat om runinskrifter samt runstenarnas ornament. Skolan har vetenskaplig profil. Under läsåret arbetar varje student med något forskningsprojekt inom naturvetenskap eller humaniora och berättar sedan om projektet på skolans konferens i maj.

Det viktigaste i skolforskningen är att väcka intresse att forska hos tonåringar. Intresse ger den nödvändiga motivationen. Först diskuterar vi inriktningen och samlar in forskningsmaterial. Oftast är det studenterna själva som bestämmer forskningsinriktningen.

Runologi är ett mycket lockande forskningsområde för gymnasieelever. Runinskrifter får man undersöka från historisk, samt från språkvetenskaplig eller konstvetenskaplig (när det gäller runstensteckningar och ornament) synpunkt. Visst ska vi inte bortse från romantiska skäl heller. Genom runristningarna får vi möta människor som levde för tusen år sedan och kan föra meningsfulla samtal med dem.

Nuförtiden är arkiv på nätet en rik materialkälla. Men ibland har vi turen att kunna samla in en del material under studieresor. Vi har redan ordnat flera forskningsresor till Sverige för alla intresserade studenter. Resorna har inkluderat besök på Stockholms Medeltidsmuseum och Historiska museet, färder till Sigtuna med undersökning av kyrkoruiner och runstenar där, till Gamla Uppsala och till Uppsala naturligtvis. År 2011 utvidgade vi rutten för skolforskningsresan till Södermanland och Östergötland, samt Vätternområde (från Stockholm via Norrköping och Söderköping till Vadstena med Skänninge och Ledbergs kyrka mm.). År 2013 besökte Lyceums lärare och studenter Island, denna gång huvudsakligen med naturvetenskapliga uppgifter. I framtiden betraktar vi även detta område som ämne för historiska och filologiska studier.

De studenter som arbetar med projekt i runologi och även de som bara deltar i studieresor till Norden och läser svenska, fördjupar sina kunskaper i geografi och historia, lär känna unika språkföreteelser, blir uppmärksamma på detaljer, dvs. skaffar sig betydande erfarenhet för studieverksamhet i humaniora. Två av studenterna, Ilja Jegorov och Andrej Volgusjev, har skrivit studieuppsatser i runologi. Den ena handlar om rättstavningens faktorer på runinskrifter och den andra om ornamentets funktioner på runstenar. Detta år kommer ett projekt om regionala skillnader i runinskrifters fasta uttryck igång.

New additions to the modest corpus of Anglo-Saxon runic inscriptions are always to be welcomed, and a number of new discoveries have been made in recent years.  This paper reports on two inscriptions in Britain, one of which can be added to the Anglo-Saxon corpus and one to the less well-studied corpus of probable modern inscriptions.

The first – and, for runologists, the more significant – is an inscription in Anglo-Saxon runes on a church wall at Kirby Misperton, North Yorkshire.  It was discovered by Prof. Dominic Powlesland and recently brought to the attention of runologists.  The inscription is in poor condition, but is rendered (partly) legible by the use of modern imaging technology, which allows us to view the object in ways that would be impossible with the naked eye or with conventional photography.  Possible readings and interpretations will be discussed in the paper.

The other “new” inscription presents a different set of problems.  It was discovered in 1996 on a rock at Portormin, Caithness, and received some attention in the local press; but it has been largely ignored by academics due to the probability that it is of modern origin (Barnes and Page inspected the stone, but excluded it from their publications for this reason).  The characters are easily legible, for the most part, but nonetheless present difficulties of interpretation.  The reasons for suspicion in this case are strong, but they can (and should) prompt us to wonder whether we can establish more rigorous methods for establishing authenticity.  Other suspect inscriptions which have been subjected to intensive investigation – such as the Kleines Schulerloch cave inscription and the Kensington runestone – remain controversial.  If, as seems most likely, the Portormin inscription is modern, it is nonetheless an interesting artefact which deserves to be recorded and studied.

Als erste skandinavische Runen, die in einem gedruckten Werk auftauchen, wird das „gotische“ Alphabet in Theseus Ambrosius‘ 1539 erschienenem Werk Introductio in chaldaicam linguam, Syriacam atque Armenicam, et decem alias linguas angesehen. Dieses stammt laut Text von Johannes Magnus. Im selben Jahr wurde außerdem Olaus Magnus berühmte Carta marina gedruckt, die ebenfalls eine kurze Runeninschrift enthält. Diese Runen tauchen sowohl in Johannes Magnus 1554 posthum erschienen Werk Historia … de omnibus Gothorum Svenvmque regibus als auch in der ein Jahr später veröffentlichten Historia de gentibus septentrionalibus seines Bruders Olaus Magnus auf. Auf diese wurde zwar immer wieder in der Forschung hingewiesen, aber eine intensive Auseinandersetzung mit den möglichen Vorlagen hat bisher nicht stattgefunden. Außerdem finden sich in der Literatur Hinweise auf ein im Jahr 1542 gedrucktes Messbuch der Gemeinde Runsten, Öland, in dem einige Psalmen in Runen abgedruckt wurden. Dieses Buch hat keinerlei weitere Aufmerksamkeit in der Forschung erhalten.

In meiner Dissertation beschäftige ich mich mit den skandinavischen Runen der frühen Neuzeit (1500-1720), welche auch Runen in gedruckten Werken behandelt. Im Vortrag soll versucht werden, den Ursprung der ersten gedruckten Runen durch einen Vergleich aller zur Verfügung stehenden gleichzeitigen und früheren Quellen (1200-1530) offenzulegen. Die Quellen sind dabei nicht nur auf die Epigraphik beschränkt, sondern es sollen erstmals auch sämtliche Runica manuscripta berücksichtigt werden.

RTI wurde im Jahr 2001 von Mitarbeitern der Hewlett-Packard Laboratories entwickelt und erstmalig in einem Paper mit dem Titel „Polynomal Texture Maps“ beschrieben. Die daraus entstandene unter der GNU General Public License 3 veröffentliche Software RTIBuilder erstellt ein mathematisches Modell der Oberfläche des fotografierten Objekts und ermöglicht so eine interaktive Neuauslichtung des Objekts in der Betrachtersoftware RTIViewer (ebenfalls GNU General Public License 3). Die Bilder, aus denen das mathematische Modell am Computer entsteht, können mit einer normalen digitalen Spiegelreflexkamera und nur wenig weiterer Ausrüstung aufgenommen werden, wodurch sich auch die Kosten für die Ausrüstung in Grenzen halten. Die Technologie eignet sich damit zur Dokumentation sämtlicher Inschriftenträger, von kleinen Fibeln über große Runensteine bis hin zu Handschriften. Erste Versuche mit der Software, die im Rahmen des Projekts „Runische Schriftlichkeit in den germanischen Sprachen“ unternommen wurden, haben die Praxistauglichkeit der Methode bewiesen. Dabei konnten Lesungen einiger Runeninschriften im süddeutschen Raum weiter abgesichert werden, andere mussten dagegen revidiert werden.

Das Poster soll einerseits den (software-)technischen Hintergrund erklären, andererseits das praktische Vorgehen bei der Dokumentation der Inschriften mithilfe der RTI-Methode zeigen. Beispielhaft hierfür sollen zwei Inschriften des südgermanischen Runenkorpus vorgestellt werden: die S-Fibel von Aschheim und die Inschrift im Kleinen Schulerloch. Außerdem soll ein (eigener) Laptop mit den Aufnahmen zur Verfügung gestellt werden, um Interessenten ein eigenes Ausprobieren der Software zu ermöglichen.

Around the turn of the last Millennium, two papers published by Judith Jesch and Anders Andrén respectively expressed the idea that the visual proximity of words in Swedish runic inscriptions of the 11th century may have been more than a mere coincidence. Both researchers argued independently that the Swedish rune-carvers of the Late Viking Age intentionally placed words which were not connected grammatically next to each other to create new meaning. If this assumption turned out to be true, it would have severe consequences for our understanding of how runes were read in the Viking Age. A linear reading process following a sequence of lines or the loops of a rune-band would then omit facets of meaning at least, if not extensively distorting the whole content of the inscription. Moreover, the modern scholarly methods of interpreting runic inscriptions practiced normally would turn out to be highly inappropriate; many results of runology achieved so far could then be questioned.

Bearing these implications in mind, it is not surprising that the assumptions outlined above (especially those by Andrén) were painstakingly checked and heavily criticized by multiple runologists. The two main arguments were that on the one hand far-reaching assumptions as these must be based on analyzing a representative corpus as a whole and not a set of deliberately chosen examples, and that on the other hand it is nearly impossible to distinguish whether the proximity of words was arranged intentionally by the carver or happened accidentally.

To address the second argument, one feature of 11th-century runic culture in Sweden promises to be exceptionally interesting. In a few instances, multiple rune-stones bearing near-identical inscriptions were erected by the same sponsor to commemorate one person, and sometimes these monuments were even executed by the same carver. If the placing of words in each other’s proximity was a stylistic device to create meaning employed by Viking Age rune-carvers, one should expect to find identical visual patterns of related words on the aforementioned multiple monuments. In my paper, I would like to examine these particular cases, trying to find out whether the technique of word-placing proves to be a means of expression of Viking-Age Scandinavians so far overlooked or a slight case of modern over-interpretation.

When dealing with documenting runic inscriptions, there are two ways in which the inscription is presented: individually, dealing with its transliteration, interpretation, background, etc. and/or as part of a larger corpus with which the inscription may share some commonalities. These commonalities may be graphic, phonetic, archaeological, etc., but in this paper I will talk about grouping the older futhark inscriptions in terms of function or purpose.

During my previous research on the pre-eighth century inscriptions located within modern-day England, Germany and Denmark, I have realised that patterns of purpose evolution can be observed in the inscriptions, and that distinct purpose-groups develop within certain time-frames and geographic locations, closely linked by other commonalities such as type of object and material used. In this paper I will present a statistical analysis of these commonalities in the older runic inscriptions and conclude that an inscription from a certain period in a certain location is statistically bound to belong within a defined purpose-group, with little exception.

This analysis and consequent grouping can help interpret difficult inscriptions by attaching a “likely” typology to the inscription once it is dated and the origin known. It attempts to provide a methodology to help dephicer new findings when interpretation is difficult. The analysis of the evolution of the purposes of early runic writing is also a significant aid when trying to understand the origin of the script and its initial purpose.

Min presentation gäller bildinnehållet på U 448, Harg i Odensala socken, Uppland, som består av en påfågel och en ryttare. Inskriften är en ren minnestext och har inte något explicit kristet element. Stenen har heller inte något kors. Jag kommer att behandla både fågeln och ryttarfiguren och jämföra med andra avbildningar, såväl på runstenar som i andra sammanhang. Fågelfiguren uppfattar jag som en tydlig påfågel, en välkänd kristen symbol för odödlighet. Ursprungligen var det en indisk solsymbol, som kom att spridas till Medelhavsvärlden och dess religioner, för att sedan tas upp i den tidiga kristendomen som sinnebilden för odödlighet. Den förekommer ofta på väggmålningar i katakomber, på mosaiker i kyrkor och på tidigkristna sarkofager, gärna antitetiskt motställda och i kombination med livsträdet. Andra fågeltyper som uppträder på runstenar skulle kunna tolkas som örnar, falkar och tuppar, och vad kan de i så fall betyda?

Ryttarfigurerna behandlas märkligt nog inte av Siegmund Oehrl  i hans Vierbeinerdarstellungen auf Schwedischen Runensteine och kan därför vara väl värda att sammanställa och begrunda. Den skotske arkeologen Martin Goldberg har föreslagit att ryttarfigurer på piktiska oghamstenar symboliserar Adventusmotivet, dvs Kristi återkomst. I det sammanhanget finner jag det intressant att NF 1972 Uppsala Domkyrka med texten vita våder har en ryttarfigur. Finns det fler fall av kopplingar mellan ryttarfigurer och kristet innehåll i inskriften?

In the spring of 2014, a Viking Age rune-stone was discovered at Sockburn, in Cleveland, a site already associated with a considerable number of Anglo-Scandinavian sculptures in the form of both hogbacks and crosses. The poster presents a preliminary interpretation of the inscription by the members of the Cleveland team of the Languages, Myths and Finds project, who recognised the stone as runic.

Sö 32 Skåäng

Sö 32 Skåäng

The Skåäng stone (KJ 85) is one of Sweden’s most remarkable rune stones with its brief inscription in the older futhark and its considerably longer Viking-Age inscription from the 11th century. The inscription with the Viking runes is known since 1830 while the older one was discovered during a visit by Hans Hildebrand in 1866. How the older inscription’s two names harija and leugaR may be read and interpreted has been discussed since Sophus Bugge 1887 publication (he examined the stone in 1885). The discussion still goes on. The reading is positive, but it is unclear how the character ᛡ after the first name and the symbol 7 after the second should be understood. The difference in time between the discovery around 1830 of the Viking Age inscription and Hildebrand´s find more than thirty years later, can be relevant to an understanding of the coming into being of the inscriptions on the Skåäng stone.

In 1962 an app. 20 cm long quartzitic Jotnian sandstone with an inscription in the older futhark was found when dismantling an iron stove from the 1870s (Carl Gustaf Blomberg) or 1920 or later (Elisabeth Svärdström) in a house in Strängnäs. The inscription reads from the right: …ril=aR ∙ wodinR. Due to the apparent freshness of the inscription and the unclear circumstances concerning the find there has been long‑lasting doubt about the authenticity of the inscription. Several recent geological and technical investigations indicate, however, that that the inscription most probably is authentic. If the inscription is a late fake, which Sven B.F. Jansson and Elisabeth Svärdström thought in the 1960s, the carver must have had a very good knowledge of runes and of North Germanic. Because of Jansson’s and Svärdström’s opinion the inscription was never published by them. The first part of the inscription can be interpreted as erilaR, a word that has been frequently discussed and is found in at least seven other inscriptions. The lexical morpheme of the second word is most probably *wōð– to which belong the u-stem, Old Norse óðr ’furious, obsessed’ but also ‘thought, poetry’, and the n-stem * wōðīn-‘ inclined/disposed to (divine?) obsession’ but also Old Norse Óðinn the name of the god Odin. A possible interpretation of the text is ‘the eril with disposition for (divine?) obsession’.

In 1993 a rune stone was found during an archaeological excavation of an outland site of the Middle Ages in Skramle, Gunnarskog, not far from the town Arvika in the province Värmland. The stone is a fine-grained, greyish gneiss with a distinct parallel structure. It exhibits obvious weathering damage and has several pits where the biotite has weathered away. Due to the damage it is difficult to read the text with the naked eye only, and because of that a laser scan of the entire inscription was made in 1996. The laser scan and computer treatment of the data by Jan Swantesson have been helpful for the safe (/reliable?) reading of the text: – – jþa…ah=arf̣arkano. The reading differs somewhat from earlier ones made by the Swedish Runverket and by Bengt Odenstedt. They studied the inscription without the aid of modern technical equipment. By comparison of the graphic form of the runes with other runic forms of inscriptions in the older futhark, the Skramle stone may perhaps be dated to the seventh century. It is almost impossible to interpret the first part of the inscription. Here the weathering is most severe. The second part can be a feminine n-stem or possibly a weak –ōn verb.

During the excavation in 2001 of a burial ground in Tomteboda near central Stockholm fragments of at least three pictorial stones in red quartzitic Jotnian sandstone were found. On one of the fragments one can read a short runic inscription e : ru The find of the rune inscribed fragment is the first instance of a picture stone with runes in the Swedish mainland. Technical analysis show that both ornamentation and runes have been carved at the same time by the same master. Other finds from the site indicate that the inscription can be dated to the seventh century. The very short text gives, of course, no ground for a safe interpretation. It might, however, be a part of the words wurte runoR ’made the runes’. Analysis of the fragments of the stones by the archaeologist John Hamilton showed that the runic picture stone was deliberately destroyed in the seventh century, when fragments of it were used to build a stone circle.

The four rune-inscribed stone monuments highlight various problems in the interpretation of runic inscriptions in the older futhark connected with the find circumstances.

The location of the runic stones in the landscape is a key to the understanding of these monuments and their underlying meaning. By studying their location in the landscape in detail, it is possible to achieve a better understanding of the context where the stones textual messages were formulated. Often runic stones have been discussed in relation to roads, graves and borders in the landscape, as well as the building of bridges and their relationship to churches. Their importance in connection with the ruling classes of society is also well known. However, how runic stones were erected and perceived on a micro-level has more seldom been discussed. This is the purpose of our project, where we on a micro-level want to study and discuss why a runic stone was erected on a specific place, from what direction the text was intended to be seen and how it was perceived and understood in the contemporary society.

Runic stones that are believed to be standing in their original position have been selected for closer studies. In the area in question, Tiohärad in Småland, c. 25 runic stones is believed to still be standing in their original position in the landscape. An archaeological investigation as well as studies of historical maps has been made close to one of these, Sm 42 in Ryssby parish, in order to try to clarify the runic stones’ relation to its vicinity. Result implies that the stone is standing in its original position and that it not should be connected to any nearby settlement, but rather to an older road, a grave-field and possibly also the borders between some of the farms in the village. Apart from this example, landscape studies, mainly by the analysis of historical maps have also been made by a number of other runic stones. The results have given new insights into the location of runic stones in the landscape, which will be presented in this paper.

The paper discusses the aims, methods, and results of a publication of the Greenlandic runic inscriptions. The aim is to describe the tradition of writing in a rural community in the North Atlantic. Due to the exceptional preservation conditions, more inscriptions have been preserved in Greenland than anywhere else. Inscriptions have been found during almost every archaeological excavation, and they occur even at the smallest farms. Until now, around 170 artefacts with runes have been preserved.

Less than 1/3 of the Greenlandic inscriptions make linguistic sense. This is first and foremost a result of the preservation of the objects/inscriptions, secondly a matter of the inscriptions being illegible. Even though many of the inscriptions make no linguistic sense, they have been incorporated in the analysis together with a handful of Latin letter inscriptions. Regardless of their state of preservation, legibility, or outline, they are important contributors to an overview of the tradition of writing.

Inscriptions are placed on all kinds of domestic tools, although tools from the textile production are at the very top of statistics. The language used is the vernacular, and Latin is only used as quotations from the Bible, prayers and so on, indicating that Latin was not used actively in communication. The outline of the runes shows a strong and continuous connection to the Nordic countries throughout the medieval period. The majority of the inscriptions are religious, or they are connected to the religious sphere with crosses or other religious symbols. The tradition of runic writing in Norse Greenland reflects a preservation of a traditional farmer’s set of values, where Christianity played the leading role. The runic inscriptions are a part of the social memory, which was vital for maintain the traditional, Christian and Norse community in that corner of the world.

In 2006 an organization was founded to help put runic studies on a more scientific basis, the American Association for Runic Studies (AARS). Its mission is two-fold: to promote academic and scholarly research regarding runes and runic-like letters in Europe and North America and to counter the unscientific claims being thrust upon school children, college students and the public by those who exploit runic writing for commercial gain.

Unfortunately, the popular cultural interpretations of runes and other related artifacts uncovered in America have leaped across the threshold of scholarly inquiry and wandered into the realm of speculation that is often stunning for its biases and inaccuracies. There are some simple cases in point that illustrate the ignorance or prejudices that have misdirected the conversation from critical discussion into fantasy.

First, there is the illustration of the Kensington runestone (KRS) as represented by U-Haul, a nationwide company that rents moving vans and trailers to the general public. In 2011 U-Haul unveiled a fleet of 2,300 moving vans that highlighted Minnesota by splashing a substantial graphic presentation related to the Kensington Rune Stone. The iconic image to represent the KRS, which claims a date of authorship in 1362, was a 9th Century Viking ship. Efforts by the AARS to provide correct factual information was rebuffed by the corporation, claiming it simply was presenting facts and it was up to the reader to sort through what was true.

Second, the bias against “academics” was replete throughout a television series, “America Unearthed,” aired by the Cable Channel H2 in 2013 and 2014. The host, Scott Wolter, has made a career on castigating scholars for “hiding” the real truth of North America’s first contact with Europeans. He also claims to have proven by petrographic methods that the KRS is an authentic medieval artifact. Mr. Wolter has started appearing in middle school classrooms where he thinks “the kids could appreciate hearing about the personal toll of what happens when academics can’t agree” and where he promotes his unscientific and alternative approach to research.

The only way to counteract this disinformation is by educating the public. In 2010, AARS coordinated parts of a North American Runic Lecture Tour, followed up in 2013. In 2012 AARS received a grant to assist in the development of a new initiative, the Educator Runic Studies Project. This is a multi -year initiative to teach about runes and runic writing in the American classroom through the development of a cadre of teachers/educators between North America and Scandinavia.

The surviving evidence suggests that there was a long-standing and geographically widely-distributed tradition of runic writing in Norway. Relatively large numbers of inscriptions in the older futhark have been found in the country, on both portable objects and memorial stones. There are more medieval inscriptions known from Norway than anywhere else, mainly on objects found in the trading centres of Bergen, Trondheim and Tønsberg, but also in the form of church graffiti and on grave stones. Yet despite this apparently long-lasting habit of runic literacy through a millennium and a half, there is a surprising paucity of evidence from the middle period between the earliest and the latest inscriptions: Norway has very few surviving Viking Age rune stones compared to Sweden or Denmark, and only a little more than the Isle of Man.

In fact, scholars disagree on the number of Viking Age rune stones in Norway. According to Barnes (2012a) there were 60 (compared to around 220 in Denmark and 2,600 in Sweden), while Barnes (2012b) and Spurkland (2005) counted 50, and Page (1983) only 40; all three scholars cautioned that these numbers are approximate. There has been relatively little work on the Norwegian Viking Age rune stones as a corpus (though see Krøvel 2001, 2003), and it is clear that some basic definitions and classification are still needed. In relation to its small size, the corpus appears to be remarkably varied in terms of the size, type and function of the monuments and the nature of their inscriptions, which has perhaps contributed to the difficulties of defining it. The corpus is also varied in its geographical distribution, not surprising in a country as large and regionally distinct as Norway, but raising questions about the nature and extent of runic literacy across such a wide area and throughout a substantial period of time.

The aim of the paper will be to establish what, if anything, characterises the Viking Age rune stones of Norway, and how they compare to the better-known and larger corpora of Denmark and Sweden. Attention will be paid both to the form and functions of the monuments, and to the content and character of the inscriptions.

This paper considers the changing nature of discourse surrounding monuments bearing runic inscriptions in the Northern Isles.  In particular it will examine the runic inscription (Br OR05) on one stone from the late Neolithic/ early Bronze Age Ring of Brodgar.  This is an uncertain inscription; its ‘Viking age’ authenticity is not validated.  Amongst its interpretations it is variously thought to be a twelfth century graffito (reported in popular archaeological guides to Orkney, eg. Wickham-Jones 2011: 43) constructed in cipher code or an antiquarian addition in response to increased interest in runes (especially cryptic) after the Victorian excavations of Maes Howe in the 1860s.

By examining both popular and academic discourse — image and text — surrounding this inscription the various differences in interpretation, orthography and dating can be analysed within their cultural contexts.   Emphasis will be placed on discerning and evaluating the changing cultural attitudes towards runic script and its particular role and presence on the Ring of Brodgar.  This includes discourses of identity, nationality, history, faith and folk belief both past and contemporary.

Efter Erik Brates död i april 1924 övertog Elias Wessén arbetet med utgivningen av Södermanlands runinskrifter. Det första texthäftet som omfattar knappt hälften av landskapets runstenar hade utkommit strax före Brates död, men de flesta av planscherna hade dragits tillbaka eftersom många av fotografierna inte höll tillräckligt hög kvalitet.

Under tre somrar 1928–30 undersökte Wessén det sörmländska runmaterialet på nytt och till sin hjälp hade han artisten Harald Faith-Ell, som svarade för det fotografiska arbetet. Undersökningarna ledde inte bara till bättre avbildningar utan också till en rad nyläsningar i de inskrifter som Brate redan hade publicerat. De senare samlades i ett 46 sidor långt avsnitt med rättelser och tillägg, som man alltid måste konsultera när man vill studera någon av de inskrifter som finns utgivna i Brates del av arbetet.

Wesséns inträde som medarbetare i Sveriges runinskrifter markerar utan tvivel ett viktigt skifte i svensk runologi vad gäller både undersökningsmetodik och dokumentation. Många av dessa erfarenheter har han säkert tillägnat sig i arbetet med Södermanlands runinskrifter, men något primärmaterial från de tidigaste resorna har inte funnits tillgängligt. För några år sedan fick jag dock i Wesséns samling i Linköpings stiftsbibliotek ögonen på ett par anteckningsböcker, som visade sig innehålla kortfattade dagboksanteckningar från undersökningsresorna 1928 och 1929. Dessa rör sällan läsningen av inskrifterna, men de ger i stället en unik inblick i hur undersökningsarbetet gick till och under vilka rätt besvärliga omständigheter som det ofta måste genomföras.

Som ett stycke svensk runologihistoria kommer jag i mitt föredrag att presentera ett axplock ur dessa anteckningar och många gånger låta Wessén själv föra ordet.

A fundamental working tool for the joint RuneS project will be a comprehensive database for documenting, describing and analyzing all research results of the three research centres. At the heart of this database the file “find” will compile necessary primary information on the runic inscriptions themselves comprising, among other things, the name(s) of the respective runic objects, a basic transliteration, a German and an English translation, as well as further specifications on find context, object type and material, dating and inscription type etc. Since the first research module of the RuneS project will deal with questions of runic graphemics, the database has to be designed and structured to comply with the above-mentioned three functions, i.e. 1. to document the runic graphs of the inscriptions which form part of the selected research questions, 2. to describe the individual graphs applying a consistent description language which will allow for different types of database searches, and 3. to display the results of the investigations. As the database is to be bilingual in German and English, it will at the same time be necessary to accommodate some historically evolved differences between German and English terminologies in the areas of runology, archaeology and linguistics, so as to ensure linguistic compatibility of all entries.

The presentation will address selected problems encountered in this process both on the structural and the linguistic level, highlighting some of the strategies implemented for their solution. E.g., the first basic decision to be made was whether we should construct a) two parallel databases (one in German, one in English) or b) one screen with ba) two separate fields for the two languages or bb) one field with both linguistic versions. The reasons in favour of a mixed system combining the possibilities ba) and bb) will be discussed. An example from the linguistic level concerns cases where one language has at its disposal a word as a received term which is at a level of generalization/specification different from the other language. A decision in such cases has to made for either further elaboration, on the one hand  or reduction of complexity of the category, on the other. These matching processes, minor as they may seem in individual cases, are of utmost importance to ensure equivalence and searchability of all entries to the database. In addition, the terminological discussions involved in this process may uncover differing categorizations, thus ultimately leading to more precise conceptual definitions in both languages.

In the 11th C AD, a picture stone tradition (including runic inscriptions) with a strong local character on Gotland is replaced by a rune stone tradition similar to that in the Mälar valley of the Swedish mainland. Gotland maintains some characteristics, such as the door-like shape of the monument, but the runic ornament is now similar to the rune stones in the Mälar valley. The runic inscriptions, too, are similar to those on the mainland.

There has been a long-standing discussion concerning the relationship between the Mälar valley and Gotland. Snӕdal’s conclusion that the Gotlandic runestones are rooted in the same Swedish influence on Gotland as can be traced in the treaty between the Gotlanders and the Svear, probably agreed upon in c.1030 AD (Snӕdal 2002:67, 230), has sparked my interest. Runic inscriptions show that these relations could be hostile (Sö 174, U 614), but nevertheless the import (U 414) or imitation (U 678) of Gotlandic monuments testifies that at least some mainland people were impressed by the Gotland monument tradition.

In order to investigate if and to what degree Upplandic and Gotlandic rune carvers actually interact at a handicraft level, I use a method to analyze the carving technique by 3D-scanning and multivariate statistical analyses. Results of the analyses indicate that the rune stones of the first half of the 11th C were carved by local handcrafters, but that in the later part of the 11th C AD the carving techniques become more similar to the Upplandic tradition.

The 3D-scanning has a double aim of providing data for the national record of runic inscriptions and for the scientific analyses of the carvings. This process has revealed new runes, as on a picture stone found in Stenkyrka in 2007. This should alert us to the potential of finding more runic inscriptions on the Gotland picture stones.

De siste 60 årene har det vokst frem en sterk motstemme til magiske tolkninger av runer i runologiske fagmiljøer. Hovedinnvendingen er at ingen ting vites om de enkeltstående runetegnenes magiske funksjon, men at runer kun kan formidle magisk budskap gjennom innskriftene, i kraft av å være tegn i et skriftsystem. Uenigheten som har rådet blant runologer i årtier om runenes magiske funksjon har nærmest ledet ut i et tabu. Det magiske aspektet ved runene bidrar til at flere grupper, både i og utenfor akademia, gjør krav på runenes krefter. I dette innlegget vil jeg problematisere forholdet mellom grafikk og symbolikk og spørre: Hvem eier egentlig runene, og kan dermed definere deres meningsinnhold? Runene er først og fremst grafiske tegn i et skriftspråk, men har gjennom tidene vært gjenstand for massiv tolkning, der runenes symbolverdi er blitt tilpasset brukerne. For eksempel tjener runer som grafiske og ideologiske symboler i nasjonalistiske miljøer, andre grupper tillemper runene symbolsk kraft i esoteriske systemer og tegnene er vesentlige i ny-hedenske miljøers søken etter en urgermansk renhet. I relasjon til en diskusjon av runenes eierskap er det også relevant å spørre om fagmiljøers avvisning av runenes magiske funksjon påvirker fremveksten av runemagi i ulike miljøer? Innlegget er en presentasjon av et større prosjekt som tar for seg spenningsforholdet mellom bruk og gjenbruk av runer gjennom tidene.

In this paper I focus on writing norms associated with runic script, bringing into the discussion a largely unused source to Medieval writing, namely inscriptions written in Roman script.

Not marking a nasal consonant before a plosive, not marking double consonants, not repeating a rune in initial position if it is same as the preceding rune, not marking word division or marking by using a sign rather than space, and the use of ligatures – these are examples of “habits” seen often enough in runic inscriptions to be viewed as part of a writing norm. (Not often enough to be a rule, but being acceptable practise.) Some are also found in manuscript writing, such as the use of ligatures. And all (except using a sign to mark word division) are connected to economising. Others, like not marking double consonants, even though this is also seen in manuscript writing, are still often seen as more exclusively “runic”. But are they “runic norms”? Might they not rather be part of a writing norm for inscriptions? I discuss this by giving examples from both runic and Roman script inscriptions, and from manuscript writing. also f­­­oman script inscriptions, as well as manuscript writing.

Inscriptions where Roman script is used are rarely mentioned or considered in relation to medieval writing and textual culture. But when studied in more detail and in higher numbers, they will – I believe – shed light on several of the Erkennungsinteressen connected to the field of runology.

Documentation of runic inscriptions is a many-faceted endeavor. It ranges from reading protocols produced during the examination of inscriptions to techniques for documenting (a) visually, (b) physically, and (c) natural-scientifically what is observed on the runic object.

Reading protocols have not changed much over the years. They still consist of sketches – more or less exact – and a rune-by-rune objective description of what is observed, as a rule entailing identification of rune form, and notes about any damage, deviation from standard form, and the like. This will not be a major part of the presentation.

Visual documentation entails the production of drawings and/or photographs. Drawings were the earliest form of documentation, and have been used since the late 1500s/1600s. Over a century ago, professional draftsmen were engaged to produce drawings of what the researcher thought to see. In the 1900s, however, photography made its entrance into the service of runic epigraphy. Drawings are still extremely important, especially when runes are difficult to reproduce clearly by photography.

Examination is a prerequisite for most photographic documentation. If the runologist does not know what he is trying to document, the light may be placed in the wrong position and important details of rune forms concealed rather than revealed. Light is the key factor for good runic photography. The best source of light is the sun, but it does not always cooperate on days set aside for inspection. When it does, it may be in the wrong position, and then a mirror can come in quite handy. Tips concerning photography will be provided in the lecture; many of these will be about lighting methods and be transferrable to examination or inscriptions. Documentation of various problematic aspects of reading runes will be illustrated: damage to characters, runes at breaks in objects, pressure marks versus cuts, dotting of runes, etc. Examples will be taken mainly from inscriptions on wood and bone, but those on stone and in metal will also be exemplified. It must be stressed that photographs are not 100 % objective.

There are various techniques for documenting runic inscriptions physically, and these have been used in one form or another for centuries. Rubbings can be made, impressions (negatives) or casts (positives) produced, etc. Particularly in the case of lost or damaged inscriptions, older rubbings, impressions and casts can constitute primary documentation.

For the physical documentation of runic inscriptions, examination is not a prerequisite. A rubbing can be made without any idea of what the readings are. Also natural-scientific documentation is not at all dependent on examination. Three rather recent procedures for the natural-scientific documentation of runic inscriptions are: (a) microscopic investigations, including light-section microscopy (e.g. in Peter Pieper’s work with the Weser runic bones), other high-precision microscopy, and even Scanning Electron Microscopy, (b) laser measuring (or 3D photography), such as that performed on the Kuli stone from Norway, and (c) RTI (Reflectance Transformation Imaging), recently performed on the Myklebostad stone from Norway. The results of these documentary procedures are quantified and objective, but cannot be used on their own as objective proof of readings; they must be evaluated, and checked against the runic object by personal examination.

The Old English runic corpus contains (at least) thirty-six inscriptions on stone monuments, almost all from the north of England, produced in the period ca. 700-900. The texts recorded vary greatly in length, content, care of execution, placement on the monument, and quality of survival. The majority of these inscribed monuments are memorials and many of the inscriptions are considered to have served commemorative purposes, together with various other aspects of the monuments (iconography, monument type, location). The distribution of the runic monuments largely overlaps with those inscribed with texts in roman letters; in fact, a number of monuments display both scripts. This suggests a coexistence, functional distribution, or even occasional rivalry of the two scripts in similar (functional and cultural) contexts. Inscribed stones were part of a rich and widespread epigraphical and commemorative tradition in the North that originated in an ecclesiastical context.

The tradition of runic monuments came to an end some time in the tenth century, which largely coincided with the settlement of the Vikings in the Danelaw. It seems to be a strange coincidence though, considering the incredible proliferation of sculpture in northern England in the Viking period and the popularity of Norse runic monuments on the Isle of Man. What local transformations of context contributed to the changing perception of these monuments? What, if anything, did it have to do with the Scandinavian settlers? In my paper I will discuss the place and development of runic monuments in England in the wider context of memorial stone monuments, and explore changes in commemorative practices, patronage, and literacy (already in the period preceding the arrival of the Vikings) that may have contributed to the dwindling popularity of runic monuments as a form of commemoration in northern England. A brief comparison with inscribed stones of the Isle of Man, Southwest Scotland, and Wales will serve as comparison for identifying regional differences and similarities.

Kennzeichnend für den Übergang vom Älteren Futhark zum Jüngeren Futhark im 7. und 8. Jh. ist in Skandinavien eine Reduzierung des Zeichenbestands von 24 auf 16 Zeichen, obwohl zu dieser Zeit durch sprachhistorische Lautwandelprozesse (z.B. Umlaut) eine erhebliche Erweiterung des Phonembestands zu verzeichnen ist. Es kam also dazu, dass die Runenreihe der Wikingerzeit (ca. 800-1100) aus 16 Zeichen bestand, jedoch bei weitem nicht das jeweilige Phonemsystem abdeckte. Um bestimmte Phoneme doch abbilden zu können, begann man um das Jahr 1000 in Dänemark und kurze Zeit später in anderen Gebieten Skandinaviens bestimmte ambigue Runengrapheme durch diakritische Zeichen in Form von Punkten bzw. kurzen Strichen zu differenzieren. Mit diesem diakritischen Zeichen sollte angezeigt werden, dass der intendierte Lautwert von dem entsprechenden unmarkierten Runengraphem, also der Rune ohne Punktierung, abwich.

Während für die schwedischen Runensteininschriften der Wikingerzeit eine detaillierte Studie zum Gebrauch und zum Lautwert dieser punktierten Runen (schwed./dän. stungna/stungne, norw. punkterade, engl. dotted) durch Svante Lagman (1990) vorliegt, fehlt eine solche für die dänischen Inschriften bislang. Hier hat sich Karl Martin Nielsen (1960, 58-64) allein mit dem Gebrauch der punktierten i-Rune befasst. Daher soll sich dieser Vortrag eingehend mit dem Gebrauch der punktierten Runen in dänischen Runeninschriften befassen. Es soll ein Überblick gegeben werden, welche punktierten Runen, in welchem Umfang und für welche Laute Verwendung fanden. Desweiteren sollen die Erkenntnisse auch mit den Ergebnissen der Untersuchung Svante Lagmans (1990) verglichen werden.

Omkring 900 vikingatida rungraffiti på mynt beaktas mycket sällan i runologi, trots att de kan sprida ljus över runinskrifter som inte hade analogier. 1. Runinskriften på Værløse-spännet (Sj 21, 200-220 AD) alugod har åtta olika tolkningar. Men frånvaron av analogier gör dem alla föga troliga. Rungraffiti på mynt tillåter oss att föreslå en tolkning av inskriften som två formelord alu och god, ”gudar eller gud”. Det finns 227 rungraffiti på mynt med gud i äldre runor, 840 med kuþ i yngre runor och åtta runinskrifter med blandade runformer. Att med gud menas hedniska gudar eller en hednisk gud är klart. Inskrifterna gud/kuþ kombineras ofta med hakkorset, torshammaren eller med inskriften þur.  Det är lockande att förknippa ordet god, som kombineras med ett hakkors på Værløse-spännet, med Tor, jfr. hakkorsets isländska namn þórshamar. Men även om det inte är så, är interpretationen av runinskriften alugod Værløse-spännet som två formellord alu och god ”gudar, gud” uppenbar. 2. Runinskriften på Vedslet-amuletstenen (Mjy 100) från medeltiden þkmrhli/iklmrþh A-hþa förblir utan tolkning. De första tre runorna i Vedslet-inskriften liknar de första tre runorna i Görlevformeln (Sj 46, 800-850), där tre rimmande ord, þistill, mistill och kistill, är framställda på ett egendomligt sätt: þmkiiissstttiiilll. Liknande formler med ett utvidgat antal uddljudsrunor finns på Ledbergstenen, i runinskriften i Borglumkyrkan, på en runstav från Bergen och i fornisländska handskrifter av Bosasaga. I alla dessa runinskrifter fortsätter uddljudsrunorna med -istil. Man kan anta att formeln inte bara kunde användas i fullständig form med –istil, utan också i en förkortad form utan -istil. Analogin till Vedslet-inskriften bildar en rungraffito på ett mynt från Klukowiczi (Polen, slutet av 700-talet) þmkr – en runföljd som fullständigt motsvarar runföljden i början av Vedslet-inskriften. I båda fallen kan man tolka þmkr som uddljudsrunor i þ(istil) m(istil) k(istil) r(istil), ”tistel”, ”mistel”, ”en liten kista”, ”ristel” (ett instrument för att rista runor). Resten av den första raden i Vedsletinskriften (hli) kan då tolkas som ett ord som motsvarar fisl. hlé, fda., fsv ”skydd“.

Knot runes are an elaborated variety of runes which have fascinated scholars over the centuries. But knot runes have proved to be both elusive and confusing too.

In the year 1600 the founding father of Swedish runology, Johannes Bureus, observed the peculiar knot runes in the Ovansjö inscription, Gs 15, during his visit to the Swedish province Gästrikland in Norrland: “Owansiö […] där äro dubble runor” [Ovansiö has doubled runes]. In 1726 Olof Celsius described Ovansjö as follows: “Dänne är een merkelig Steen, Hwilkens Runor äro bundne med knutor” [This is a remarkable rune-stone with runes tied in knots]. (GsR p. 163).

For many years Ovansjö was the only example of knot runes. In 1901 George Stephens published the so-called Göngu-Hrólf’s horn in Florence (of West-Norse origin) in Old-Northern Runic Monuments, vol. 4. His interpretation “Andrell gart (made) me” was slightly wrong but much better than Halvdan Koht’s “Reinaldr or Reinn made me” from 1928 which later entered Norges innskrifter med de yngre runer (NIYR 5 p. 236 f.). Koht wrote “jeg inrømmer at ornamentikken her er slik at den også bragte mig til å spørre om den ikke hadde til hensikt å fremstille tre runer. Men jeg har ikke kunnet få noen virkelige runer frem” [I admit that the decoration here is such that it also brought me to ask if it could not be meant to represent three runes. But I have not been able to construe and genuine runes.]. Magnus Olsen in NIyR suggests R[agnvald] E[írks]s(on) gerði mik. It was not until 1979 that Aslak Liestøl identified the first runes as knot runes and established the reading “Andres gerði mik”. As Sven B. F. Jansson points out Liestøl seemed to be unaware of the Ovansjö stone (GsR 1981, p. 173). Seemingly both Liestøl and Jansson were unaware of the fact that Erik Brate had given the correct interpretation in his book Svenska runristare in 1925.

In the meantime, an important new-find was unearthed in Greenland. In 1958 C. L. Vebæk published a spoon from Unartoq with the most informative inscription spon carved both in knot runes and ordinary runes. Since then knot runes were reported from Bergen (Liestøl 1979, p. 231) and within the last decades two additional knot rune inscriptions have been found in Greenland, one being a knot runic futhark inscription.

A survey of the, admittedly, limited corpus of knot rune inscriptions reveals that knot runes are in several cases followed by doubled runes which in turn are most commonly used in the Iron Age. Little scholarly attention seems to have been paid to these elaborated runes, although they may in fact have played a significant visual role in conveying the written message. They are not mentioned in Marco Bianchi’s dissertation (Runor som resurs, 2010) or for that sake in the most recent handbook on runes by Michael Barnes (2012).

This raises the question about the origin and meaning of knot runes. Do knot runes signify a specific visual effect or do they have social or stylistic significance? The paper will try to demonstrate that knot runes can both be explained as a coherent runologic feature and at the same time display contemporary mediaeval writing fashion.

While the oldest runic inscription in Thorsbjerg has been found on a dendrodated object from AD 164, nothing prevents the barbaric script imitations from representing a continuous tradition that existed alongside Latin, Greek and runes well into the 4th century AD. The find of a 4th century barbaric gold coin imitation with a partially legible text in Greek at Gudme – a central place often considered the origin of the runic bracteates – ought to remind runologists of the importance of barbarian script imitation as a long-term impetus for runic writing.

This paper focuses on the so-called barbarous imitations of Roman Imperial denarii, copying coins with the portrait of Roman emperors from AD 69 onwards. These were probably made outside what was once the Roman Empire, presumably by Germanic peoples. Presently there are more than 700 of them, of which some 500 only recently have come to be known, via an Internet site in the Ukraine, managed by amateurs. The denarius was the most important silver coin in antiquity. In modern times denarii have been unearthed within as well as outside of the Empire, in Europe, in Asia and in Africa. In Europe outside of the Empire first/second century denarii have been dug up, most often casually, in southern Scandinavia, in the northern parts of the Netherlands, in Germany, Poland, Czechia, Slovakia, Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and the “non-Roman” parts of Hungary and Romania, usually in the form of hoards, occasionally amounting to several thousands of coins. During the Imperial era, from 30 BC onwards, a denarius usually had a portrait of the emperor or some member of the Imperial family on the obverse, and a god or goddess in full figure on the reverse. On both sides there was a legend in the Latin language. Emperors’ titles and names were often abbreviated. The barbarous imitations are as a rule found with regular denarii, almost everywhere outside the Empire where regular first/second century denarii are found, although especially common in the Ukraine. They are of about the same weight and general appearance as genuine coins, which they clearly try to copy as closely as possible, with a variety of results. The “legend” shows various degrees of barbarization, and not rarely try to render the Roman name ANTONINVS on the obverse, in various ways, such as IIITONIИVZ – ΛV – ZƆOIIIPXXIII, probably intended as ANTONINVS AVG TR P XXIII (“AVG” is short for “augustus” and TR P XXIII is a dating device) or ΛИIOИIИVZ – IʘNPIVZAVC, possibly ANTONINVS .. PIVS AVG. More often, however, the “legend” is mere nonsense, although Latin letters are used, or imitations of Latin letters. To my knowledge there is no “denarius barbaricus” with Runic signs or an intelligible Greek legend. Apart from the fact that these coins show that people outside the Empire, from the first/second century onwards, reacted in different ways to Latin letters, this is about all one can say at the present on this subject, which is virtually a new and untried area of research.

During the course of the eleventh century runic monuments came to be erected in Christian cemeteries in central Sweden. The earliest examples of churchyard monuments in this area are the early Christian grave monuments, often called Eskilstuna cists, which in their most elaborate form consisted of a lid slab, two side slabs and two gable slabs forming a stone cist standing visibly on the ground. Early Christian grave monuments were an integrated part of the late Viking Age runestone tradition, which changed during the course of the eleventh century due to influence from Christian customs and mentality. Due to the change of context, from a landscape setting to the Christian churchyard, the runic memorial tradition was transformed on several levels, not only materially but also conceptually.

In order to understand the diverse expression within the runestone tradition it is of interest to decipher how, when and where transformations take place. The discussion in this paper focuses on the interplay between runestones and early Christian grave monuments, as well as the relationship between stone sculpture and burial customs in eleventh-century central Sweden. I argue that differences within the late Viking Age runestone tradition are closely connected to variations in burial customs. I will furthermore suggest that regional diversity in burial and commemorative practices within this area reflects various levels of Christian organisation.

In Old Norwegian a phenomenon dubbed vowel harmony affects the realization of the unstressed phonemes /i/ and /u/. Researchers see this phenomenon as a progressive distant assimilation, where the closeness of a stressed vowel influences the closeness of the vowel in the following syllable. There has been debate concerning both the geographical distribution of this trait, as well as the rules that govern the assimilation itself. Marius Hægstad claimed that the south-western parts of Norway lacked vowel harmony in the Old Norse period, whereas other scholars have claimed that vowel harmony is found in manuscripts originating in the same area. Previous research has used Roman script manuscripts as empirical sources. The contemporaneous runic material, however, has not been systematically scrutinised.

In my talk I make use of runic inscriptions to discuss the geographical distribution of vowel harmony in Old Norwegian, and also the rules that govern it. Because the vast majority of runic inscriptions are originals and therefore a primary expression of the rune carver’s language, the runic inscriptions provide excellent complementary data when discussing Old Norwegian vowel harmony. Accordingly, I have sought to examine to what degree vowel harmony is exhibited in the Norwegian runic material from approx. 1050 to 1400 CE, and furthermore whether the runic material shows any geographical variation.

Based on the results of my study I argue that vowel harmony is present in most parts of the country. The data from the coastal region of south-western Norway are ambiguous, however. Furthermore, vowel harmony largely seems to be governed by the supposed rules for the assimilation, though there are some interesting aberrant data. I use concepts from articulatory phonology to discuss patterns in the anomalous data, and propose additional factors governing the phonetic realisation of unstressed /i/ and /u/.

This study is relevant to Old Norse philology and related historical linguistic research for the added insight it gives into dialectal differences within Old Norwegian and for the fresh data added to the ongoing discussion surrounding the rules of vowel harmony. Furthermore, the study makes the methodological point that runic inscriptions are suitable for historical linguistic research, and that the study of the Old Norse language would benefit from the independent data runic inscriptions can provide.

Svaret på denna fråga har hittills varit ‘ja’. Det mest välkända exemplet på denna betydelse återfinns i den Första grammatiska avhandlingen (ca 1150), där författaren argumenterar för att anpassa och utöka det latinska alfabetet för att uppnå ett grafofonemiskt precist skriftsystem som lämpar sig för fornisländskan. Han säger då till sin tänkta motpart att eigi er þat rúnanna kostr þó at þú lesir vel eða ráðir vel at líkindum þar sem rúnarnar vísa óskýrt, heldr er þat þinn kostr ‘det är inte bokstävernas förtjänst om du läser dem väl eller tolkar dem väl efter vad som är sannolikt i fall där bokstäverna ger oklart besked, utan det är din förtjänst’.

Detta är det enda fall där författaren använder rúnar för att beteckna latinska bokstäver. I det enda andra fall där han använder ordet betyder det sannolikt ‘runor’ (rúnar [heita] málstafir ‘[en typ av] bokstäver [heter] runor’). För bokstäver använder han annars alltid stafir, málstafir eller bókstafir, och då det rör sig om en terminologiskt medveten författare som skriver en avhandling om ortografi vore det minst sagt uppseendeväckande om han plötsligt bytte beteckning. Förutsatt, naturligtvis, att så faktiskt är fallet.

Vid tiden för avhandlingens författande var det medeltida, mer exakta runinvenariet ännu inte fullt utvecklat. För en grammatiker med medvetenhet om ortografi och olika skriftsystem torde runorna ha tett sig mycket inexakta och fungera som ett utmärkt exempel för att få motparten att inse behovet av ett mer otvetydigt skriftsystem (denna åsikt var för övrigt gångbar ännu tvåhundra år senare, som prologen till de fyra grammatiska avhandlingarna visar). I ljuset av såväl detta som författarens generella stringens bör den hittills rådande översättningen förändras till ‘runor’. Detta medför inte bara en nyöversättning, utan ger oss också ett nytt, samtida vittnesmål till hur runorna uppfattades som skriftsystem; deras inexakta karaktär kunde utan vidare förutsättas vara känd av den lärde antagonisten.

Finns det då överhuvud taget belägg för betydelsen (latinska) bokstäver? Det fåtal belägg som anförs i ordböcker gäller inskriptioner på sten eller skriftsystem andra än det latinska. Endast i dessa fall måste betydelsen vara en annan än ‘runor’ i modern bemärkelse och ordet tycks då betyda antingen ‘monumentalskrift för inskription (på sten)’ eller ‘främmande skrift’. Som beteckning för skrift tycks rúnar alltså ha kunnat ha en något vidare betydelse än ‘runor’, men betydelsen var då snarast ‘det andra skriftsystemet’ i motsättning till vanlig, latinsk bokskrift. Den betydelse som översättarna av den Första grammatiska avhandlingen har valt synes sålunda ha varit just den betydelse som ordet var markerat för att inte ha.

Die meisten Editionen von Runeninschriften bieten neben einer Transliterierung der Inschrift (Umsetzung der Runen in eine Schrift mit lateinischen Zeichen und Hilfszeichen) auch eine Transkription in eine landessprachliche Sprache an. Dieses Verfahren ist auch von Handschrifteneditionen bekannt, wo man dann von Normalisierung spricht. Im Lauf der Forschungsgeschichte hat sich z. B. für das Altisländische des Hochmittelalters eine genormte Orthographie entwickelt. Sie wird dort problematisch, wo Texte des Hochmittelalters in Handschriften überliefert sind, die bis zu 400 Jahre älter sind. Hier wird neben der Anwendung einer genormten Orthographie auch eine Rückprojizierung des Textes vorgenommen. Deshalb haben etliche Ausgaben sich entschieden, nur einen sog. diplomatischen Text, also eine Transkription zu liefern.

Die Situation für die Runologie ist different: Runeninschriften sind zeitnah zu ihrer jeweiligen Sprache. Aber selbst wenn es gelingt, eine Inschrift auf einen Zeitraum von etwa 50 Jahren zu datieren, erhebt sich die Frage, welche Sprache man für die Transkription verwenden soll. Anders als in der Editionspraxis der altisländischen Texte gibt es keine „Normalsprache“ in die man die Texte überführen könnte. Soll man ein genormtes Altdänisch, Altschwedisch etc. erschaffen, oder doch der regionalen und zeitlichen Sprachvariante versuchen näher zu kommen? Dabei wird man auf die bestehenden Sprachgeschichten zurückgreifen wollen. Doch, wenn Runentexte die einzige schriftliche Überlieferung sind, besteht die Gefahr eines circulus vitiosus. Denn die Inschriften sind zugleich auch Zeugnisse für die Sprachgeschichte, die man gerne als Quelle der Vorstellung einer Sprache einer Epoche heranziehen möchte, um die Inschriften zu transkribieren.  Einfacher wird es allerdings, wenn neben der runischen Schreibtradition noch andere Quellen der Sprachgeschichte, z. B. Handschriftentexte zur Verfügung stehen.

Ein extremer Fall von Normalisierung liegt vor, wenn man schwed., norw., oder dän. Inschriften in die altisländische Normalorthographie überführt. Obwohl man auf den ersten Blick diese Praxis, wie sie z. B. in rundata geübt wird, verwerfen möchte, sollte man überlegen, ob es nicht doch dafür Argumente gibt.

Eine weitere Problematik ergibt sich dann, wenn man bedenkt, dass wir oft von unausgesprochen und damit auch oft unreflektierten Vorannahmen hinsichtlich der Zeichenfunktion von Schriftzeichen ausgehen. Ist eine phonetische Adäquatheit überhaupt intendiert? Gibt es Schreibtraditionen, die die Vorstellung beeinträchtigen, die wir uns von der Sprache eines Denkmals machen?

One of the most important contributors to our understanding of older runic epigraphy, Elmer Antonsen was a controversial scholar. Best remembered for bringing an overtly structural and neo-Bloomfieldian approach to the study of the earliest inscriptions, he was also something of a contrarian, promoting readings and interpretations of older runic texts which did not find much support in the broader runological historiography. This paper examines some of his more lasting contributions to the epigraphic field in terms of his analyses of a handful of older runic inscriptions.

Antonsen’s interpretations were often more structurally informed than those of his predecessors. Yet his analyses were also often inconsiderate of the reader and immoderate in their claims. His assessment of the anthroponym bidawarjaz on the Nøvling fibula, for example, seems to have been correct at the lexical level, but was poorly explained and over-claiming. Attempting to translate the text as if it were Indo-European rather than Germanic was methodologically unwarranted, even if Antonsen’s basic etymological insight seems essentially to have been correct.

His interpretation of the anthroponym on the Lindholmen bone piece was similarly unexpected and under-explained. Yet his basic etymological insight accords strikingly well with a fuller morphological analysis of the Indo-European term for ‘sun’, as well as a typological analysis of the find.

Antonsen’s interpretation of the inscription on the Reistad stone is perhaps the most striking. The recent discovery of a second rune-inscribed bracteate at Trollhättan provides an answer to his critics that was not available in Antonsen’s lifetime. His analysis, based on typological and phonological considerations, has been criticized at the empirical level. But it makes considerably more sense than the interpretations put forward by other scholars.

Verbplasseringi i runespråket hev vore rekna som prinsipielt fri (t.d. Krause, Die Sprache der urnordischen Runeninschriften, 1971). Likevel viser det seg at det finitte verbet i flestalle runeinnskrifter er plassert på fyrste- eller andreplass i setningi (i samsvar med den sokalla V2-regelen som gjeld i norrønt mål), og at dei fåe innskriftene der verbet er plassert lenger bak, er av eit serskilt, stilisert slag (Þórhallur Eyþórsson, Futhark 2, 2011). Soleis finn ein som regel samanfall millom sein verb­plassering og allitterasjon i desse innskriftene. Eit godt døme på dette er Gallehus-innskrifti, Ek Hlewagastir holtijar horna tawido, der det er tri allittererande, trykksterke stavingar, og verbet kjem i den fjorde trykksterke stavingi. Med eit mogelegt undantak for det pronominelle subjektet fremst (Mees, Futhark 3, 2012) ser dette ut som ei germansk allittererande langlina.

Interessant nok finn ein den same setningsbygnaden i mange eddakvæde, der det finitte verbet sameleis kann standa lenger bak enn andreplass, utan umsyn til kva type setning det er (Haukur Þorgeirsson, JGL 24 (3), 2012). I skaldediktingi derimot er sein verbplassering avgrensa til sokalla bundne setningar, d.e. undersetningar og hovudsetningar som er innleidde av subjunksjon (Kuhn, PBB 51, 1933). I ubundne setningar stend verbet derimot fast på fyrste- eller andreplass i setningi (V2). Denne verbplasseringi er regelen i norrøn prosa i både ubundne og bundne setningar.

I dette fyredraget vil eg sjå alle desse observasjonane i samanheng og freista å tyda deim ut som ulike poetiske eller stiliserte syntaksar som lever jamsides einannan i ulike sjangrar og som er resultat av at syntaksen hev vorte «frosen» på ulike tidspunkt i målvoksteren, d.e. då dei aktuelle sjangrane vart etablerte. Soleis kann ein setja upp ein syntaktisk kronologi for verbplasseringi i eldre nordisk, der eddadiktingi og dei allittererande runeinnskriftene høyrer til same, tidlege urnordiske sjikt, der det enno var mogelegt å ha det finitte verbet til slutt i alle typar setningar, medan skaldediktingi og flestalle urnordiske runeinnskrifter høyrer til det urnordiske og tidleg norrøne sjiktet der denne verbplasseringi er avgrensa til bundne setningar, og berre den norrøne prosaen syner eigenleg samtidig norrøn syntaks, med V2-regelen gjenomførd.

For those who are interested in Danish history the Jelling dynasty from the second half of the 10th century to 1042 has had a special meaning. The successive 6 kings from Gorm the Old (-958) to Hardecnut (-1042) transformed a small Danish kingdom into one of the most influential states in Northern Europe in the 11th century. After Gorm and Harald made steadier the foundation of the kingdom the following kings expanded their stage of activity westward to gain booty with their army. In 1013 Swein conquered England to take the crown into his hand and, after his sudden death, his son Canute reconquered the kingdom to reign over three kingdoms of England, Denmark and Norway which surrounded the North Sea.

While it is important to reevaluate the rule of the Jelling dynasty from the viewpoint of European political history, we should remember another important activity by the Danes: raising rune stones in memory of the dead.

As some scholars including me noticed in recent times, raising rune stone – which demands much resource — was a kind of political activity for the contemporary landed magnates to demonstrate their power. This is the case for the Jelling kings, which resulted in creating the magnificent Jelling monument including DR41 and DR42. Did the Jelling dynasty stop raising their rune stones at the time of rulership of Swein Forkbeard, however? In my report I will aim to reconstruct the commemorative strategy of the Jelling dynasty through rune stones after the Jelling stones in the context of a changing Danish society.

The aim of the paper is to present a model for the description of runic graphs and a method for their classification into graph-types and graph-type variants. The classification of runic graphs into graph-types and variants requires the establishment of typological criteria. Runologists have described runic graphs in various ways, employing different sets of graphic elements and different sets of graphic traits, such as the length of runes’ branches, their height, their direction and their angle (see e.g. Loman 1965, Spurkland 1991, Fjellhammer Seim 1998).

The classification process presents, however, several theoretical and practical problems, e.g. the difficulty of defining the difference between graph-types on the one hand and between graph-types and variants on the other; the use of functional criteria, that is graph-types’ supposed graphemic status, in a graphic based typology; the classification of dotted runes and ”unconventional” runic forms such as bind runes, inverted and reversed runes.

The establishment of a solid classification of runic graphs is not only the first step in the study of graph-types’ graphemic status, but also the basis of palaeographic studies about how runic forms were used during different chronological periods, in different geographic areas and on different types of material. Examples of this kind of research will be given during the presentation and some results of a study about the development and usage of runic forms in medieval Gotland will be discussed.

Att läsa runor på mindre lösföremål av metall är ofta förenat med specifika svårigheter och hinder. Därför kräver det också andra metoder än dem som används vid läsning av runinskrifter på t.ex. sten. För det första är runorna på metallföremål som regel mycket små och inte så sällan skadade av korrosion. Inskriftens yta kan ibland innehålla repor eller streck som inte hör till själva inskriften men som kan likna avsiktligt ristade linjer. Det kan vidare finnas runor på andra av föremålets ytor, stundom till och med på samtliga, så att det är svårt att veta var man ska börja och var man ska sluta läsa. För det andra kan läsaren sällan ha någon förväntan om vad inskriften ska innehålla, vare sig det gäller runformer, språk eller inskriftens eventuella genre (i detta skiljer de sig från t.ex. runstenar) Sådana inskrifter kräver vidare ett binokulärt mikroskop med goda möjligheter till belysning från olika vinklar. Läsningen kräver också mycket tid.

Det nyfunna kopparbrynet från Rjurikovo Gorodišče (funnet hösten 2011) förser oss med utmärkta exempel på dessa och många andra problem. Föremålet är ovanligt: vi känner inte till några andra dekorativa metallbrynen från vikingatiden, men väl några skifferbrynen med runinskrifter. Kopparbrynet är ett mycket litet föremål: dess längd är 26 mm, bredden på två av dess fyra sidor är 3,3–4,5 mm, de bägge övriga sidornas bredd är 4,4–7,3 mm. Det innehåller runor på alla dessa fyra sidor. På en av dem kan de flesta runorna läsas utan större problem och kan definieras som kortkvistrunor, medan det på de tre andra sidorna är mycket svårare att läsa några tecken. Det förefaller därför viktigt att diskutera dessa och andra svårigheter med läsningen, liksom hur man dokumenterar läsningen för att sedan låta andra forskare tolka inskriften.

Am 26.11.2010 wurden im Römisch-Germanischen Museum Köln zusammen mit Klaus Düwel das Bügelfibelfragment von Bad Ems (KJ 142) und die Bügelfibel von Beuchte (KJ 8) untersucht. Die Unterschiede in den Gravurmerkmalen der beiden Inschriftenteile sowie die Charakteristika der Absetzungsweise der Fußplatte lassen neue Ansätze zur Interpretation des Runenfundes von Bad Ems zu, die im Vortrag näher erörtert werden.

Weitaus interessanter mag die intensivere Neubetrachtung des Ornaments auf der Fußplatte der Bügelfibel von Beuchte sein, zu der Wolfgang Krause in RäF 1966: 27 schreibt:

„Das in 5 Quadrate eingeteilte Zierband auf der Rückseite des Tierkopffußes scheint in der Ausfüllung mit diagonalen Strichen das Sanduhrzeichen von Ritzung C rein ornamental vervielfältigt zu haben;… .“

Doch schon in der Erstpublikation von Krause und Niquet bemerkte W. Völksen 1956: 100 f.:

„… und ferner sehen wir auf der entsprechenden Seite des Tierkopffußes ein fünfmal sich wiederholendes geometrisches Muster, dessen quadratisches Feld durch Strichritzungen weiter aufgeteilt ist …. Durch die benachbarten in gleicher Weise aufgeteilten Felder erfährt das Muster jeweils eine Ergänzung, so daß sich die fünf quadratischen Felder gewissermaßen zu einem neuen Muster in unendlicher Abfolge aneinander reihen. Die vollständige Zeichnung ist 6 mm hoch und 22 mm lang. Beide Ritzzeichnungen zeigen grundsätzlich in der diagonalen Aufteilung von Quadraten, woraus sich Dreiecke ergeben, eine gewisse Ähnlichkeit, wenn auch die Zeichnung auf dem Tierkopffuß durch Hinzufügung weiterer Ritzungen reicher ausgeführt ist als die Dreieckszeichnung unterhalb der BURISO-Ritzung.“

Beuchte

Verteilung der Einzelrunen des älteren Futhark auf das Ornament der Bügelfibel von Beuchte

Der Gedanke, dass in der vorliegenden Ornamentik eine Runenform (d-Rune) beinhaltet ist, wurde nun von mir konsequent weiterverfolgt. Das Ergebnis wird auf der Beilage ersichtlich: Durch Teilung eines dieser sogenannten Quadranten (de facto ca. 6 mm H zu ca. 4 mm B) durch zwei sich kreuzende Diagonalen (g-Rune) ergibt, unter Einbeziehung der beiden Ränder des Rechtecks zur Rechten und zur Linken, von ganz allein die d-Rune. In der Kreuzung der Diagonalen ist ein kleiner Winkel aufgesetzt, der, diese einbeziehend, eine Variante der ing-Rune darstellt. Ein weiterer kleiner Winkel vor dem rechten Ende des Rechtecks stellt die gewöhnliche Form der k-Variante dar. Bezieht man dessen Spiegelung im anschließenden Rechteck mit ein, erhält man eine weitere Möglichkeit der Schreibung einer ing-Rune, nimmt man die senkrechte linke Begrenzung des Folgerechtecks per se (i-Rune) und verbindet sie mit dem anschließenden kleinen, inneren Dreieck, ergibt sich die th-Rune etc. Doch ist in dem durch den Graveur dieses Ornaments vorgegebenen Schlüssel nicht das gesamte ältere Futhark repräsentiert, denn erst unter Berücksichtigung der genialen Völksen‘schen Voraussetzung einer Grundidee von einer Unendlichabfolge der Einzelelemente dieses Dekors, und zwar sowohl in horizontaler, wie auch in vertikaler Richtung lassen sich nicht nur beide Bestandteile der Beuchter Runeninschrift, sondern sogar sämtliche Glieder der gemeingermanischen Runenreihe abbilden. Anlässlich unserer letzten Autopsie der Fibel am 18.11.2013 in Soest ermunterte mich Klaus Düwel, diese Gedankengänge vorzulegen.

In the past there seemed to be quite an amount of consensus of how the older Runic inscriptions were to be read (cf. W. Krause, Die Runeninschriften im älteren Futhark. I. Text. II. Tafeln. Mit Beiträgen von Herbert Jankuhn. Göttingen, 1966). This consensus was also codified in a nearly coherent grammar of the early Runic inscriptions (cf. W. Krause, Die Sprache der urnordischen Runeninschriften. Heidelberg, 1971). This consensus lasted till the edition of E. H. Antonsen (A concise grammar of the older runic inscriptions. Tübingen, 1975), who proposed lots of deviating readings and had a structuralist approach towards the grammar. In recent times there again have been many rereadings of Runic inscriptions (cf. e.g. readings given by Seebold, Imer, Graf, Graf – Waldispühl). Some of these new readings have an effect on how the grammar of the early Germanic languages looked like, cp. e.g.:

a. Silver clasp of Gårdlösa (ca. 200): Is the sequence after ek to be read as PN unwodz or as a sequence of a PN unwod and an abbreviated verb form f/w? When the latter is right, there is a nom.sg. form without a trace of the expected ending – can this and when yes how does this fit into the grammar system?

b. There seem to be three separate endings of the 3.sg.pret. of the weak verbs: ‑dai (only silver clasp of Lundegårde/Nøvling [ca. 200]) : –de (shield mount 2 of Illerup Ådal 2 [ca. 200], wooden box of Garbølle [ca. 400]) : ‑da (only silver rosette clasp of Skovgårde/Udby [ca. 200]). Are they in view of the grammar of the later Germanic languages all to be taken at face value or must –dai be read as –da + division mark or is –da a misspelling for –dai?

Examples like these will be addressed in the talk, asking how different readings affect our understanding of the grammar and how a decision between deviating readings can be made on the basis of what is known of the grammar of the early Germanic languages.

The aim of this paper is to revise and further analyse the functions of the runes and in the Glosses to the Lindisfarne Gospels. The work presented here is part of a project funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation which addresses various aspects of the morphosyntax and lexis of the gloss.

Manuscript runes are of great value since they constitute an important secondary source for the understanding of the runic system. They supply information for example about the rune-names and their acrophonic use which in most cases is not provided by epigraphical inscriptions. The English runica manuscripta together with the Scandinavian manuscript and epigraphical material are the only source of the rune-names, their meanings and sound value. In Anglo-Saxon times runes could be used to represent the word that supplied their names. The runes , and were systematically employed in manuscripts taking the place of dæg, mann, ethel respectively. In the case of the Glosses to the Lindisfarne Gospels the and runes are used as abbreviations of their names.

The standard edition of the Glosses to the Lindisfarne Gospels was published in the last quarter of the 19thcentury (1874-1878) by W. W. Skeat. He stated that his aim was to present the reader with a text that reflected as nearly as possible that of the manuscript. However, his editorial practice subjected the language and grammar to extensive editorial interpretation and alteration (Cole, 2013). Recent studies on the glosses (Fernández-Cuesta, forthcoming) demonstrate that various aspects of Skeat’s edition are not faithful to the gloss scribal practice in one way or another and justify the need to return to the original manuscript for the linguistic study of the text and for a new edition of the manuscript. A new collation of Skeat’s edition with the facsimile of Lindisfarne would reveal errors and inaccuracies of the transcription, and loss of material due to the practice of normalising texts with the purpose of making it more accessible to readers.

In the case of the runes, Skeat also subjected the use of runes to editorial interpretation and alteration. For instance, in the manuscript is sometimes used as an abbreviation sign for mann, monn. In fol. 215r a19 we can read <ænig >. In this case Skeat expands the rune sign to monn (Jn. 2.25). However, in fol. 215r b17 we encounter <se mon> (Latin homo), where Skeat has tried to reproduce the rune in his edition (Jn. 3.4). A further analysis of the functions of the runes in the glosses needs to be done in the context of the studies of Anglo-Saxon runica manuscripta with a collation of the facsimile and the original manuscript.

In recent years, researchers involved in projects representing the Runic writing system electronically have discovered that the repertoire in the Unicode Standard / ISO 10646 is insufficient. In order to address this shortcoming, we hereby propose establishing a Runic Font Initiative.

Like the Medieval Unicode Font Initiative (MUFI) and other, similar initiatives, which have been successful on just this sort of issues in the past, we would like to bring together interested scholars to work on a general comprehensive Runic character set and aim at making a proposal for a future Runic Extension in Unicode.

Pilgrimages played an important part in people’s religius life in the Middle Ages. The destination for these travels were sacred places  like Rome, Jerusalem, Santiago de Compstela.  The  Scandinavian countries also offered more local  alternatives for people who could not go that far,  St. Olav’s grave in Nidaros being the most popular.

Pilgrimages are often mentioned in the literary sources.  The abbot Niculás Bergsson  compiled his  pilgrim’s guide to Rome and Jerusalem,  Leiðarvísir, in the middle of the 12th century.  This was the first itinerarium for pilgrims composed in Scandinavia.  Pilgimages are also mentioned saga literature and charters.  In a charter from Oslo dated to “approx. 1300”  Bård the craftsman refers to a  division of his property that took place when he was in Jerusalem,  meðan ek var til Jossala  (DN III 45). Most of the literary sources, however,  seem to imply that  normally only the well situated  could afford to undertake a pilgrimage to far off  places.

There is a number of runic inscrptions that  might refer to  pilgrim activity. Where do we find these inscriptions? What do they tell?  What kind of evidence can we infer from this material?  Do they tell the same story as the literate sources or do they  add supplementary information to the history of pilgrimages?

The medieval corpus of Danish runic inscriptions includes a group of 12 cast censers, one of which has been lost. The censers have been dated to the middle of the thirteenth century on the basis of several different typological characteristics:

  1. art historical style typology
  2. rune typology
  3. linguistic typology (Old Danish and Latin)
  4. text typology

The texts provide information about the title of the master craftsman, his forename, byname and profession. In one of the inscriptions the master says he comes from the Danish town of Svendborg in south-eastern Fyn. The majority of the censers have been gathered in from village churches in the area to the north of Svendborg and this points to a specifically local production. A single censer, however, was found in Tjørme church in Norway. The level of education of the master is suggested partly by the continental features of the items, partly by the language of the inscriptions, and not least by their content.

In comparison with many other runic objects and their inscriptions, this group of censers is an exceptionally homogeneous group, demonstrating a number of the characteristics typically found in a medieval Danish runic inscription. This is also the reason why the censers are a favourite subject for illustration in publications dealing with the medieval period and/or medieval written literature.

I have earlier in the course of my ph.d.-studies worked on this same group of censers and carried out a number of primary investigations at the National Museum in Copenhagen and the Cultural-Historical Museum in Oslo. This work was intended to be a pilot-project but ended up by occupying a substantial part of my thesis from 2007. My treatment there clearly reveals that this was my first forage into runology and I received a good deal of criticism from the third official examiner at the public defence of the thesis in 2008. In the present paper I shall give a presentation of the censers from Fyn and discuss them in the light of my experiences with them hitherto. I shall take account of the earlier criticisms and emphasise some of the points that have not been made in the standard works and discus issues concerning both discovery, decipherment and documentation.

The durability and longevity of the material of the Scandinavian runic memorial stones were considered important aspects of the monuments, as is occasionally attested in the inscription. Together with their size and weight, this can create the impression of static monuments. At the same time we know, however, that individual monuments were adapted and transformed, some more than others, and that the runestone tradition as whole changed over time.

This paper will explore the different kinds of changes runestones were subject to, from natural forces to human influences. There are of course many examples of memorials on which secondary inscriptions were carved, or that were re-used, relocated into a church context or museum environment, or subject to restoration, conservation or reconstruction practices. Also if runestones themselves have not been altered on purpose, their appearance and the spatial context are affected by weathering and changes in the landscape.

Runic monuments preserve a communicative act from the past, but at the same time they are continuously subject to change and changing surroundings as well to interactions with a changing public. Even efforts to reconstruct and preserve the original communicative act influence and add to the chain of meanings assigned to the runic monument. This prolonged, fluid and multilayered process influences the perception and decipherment of these monuments.

In recent years scholarship on the Viking Age rune-stones has tended to focus on single aspects of the stones and their features, without a ‘bigger-picture’ view. This paper sets out to begin filling in this gap, through a focus on a larger-scale interpretation of the rune-stones and what they disclose (implicitly) about the people(s) of Sweden in the late Viking Age, rather than what they were intended to reflect socially. Temporal and regional differentiation was identified as a vehicle to explore this approach. Data analysis, e.g. PCA and Bayesian statistics were established as the best methods to address these goals, and to that end a database (of sorts) was established, based on Rundata and incorporating other information from a variety of sources. The most important components of this analysis were Linn Lager’s cross-classification system, Birgit Sawyer’s catalogue from The Viking-Age Rune-Stones, and the inscription text files provided along with Rundata. While well established as separate social groups in the historical record, there was found to be very little work attempting to identify large-scale differentiation between the rune-stones of Svealand and Götaland. This was attempted using a variety of techniques, including PCA and cross-type analysis, and some differences were identified.

In order to explore temporal differentiation in the rune-stones, a way was sought to investigate just how to rectify the large number of undated stones in the corpus. Using Gräslund’s stylistic dating, a distribution pattern of four separate ‘phases’ (Early, M1, M2, Late) was established, and a Naīve Bayes Classifier was built. Bayes Classifiers are seeing more and more use in archaeological analysis, often in situations where a date-range for an assemblage has been established, but dating an entire corpus of artefacts is either impossible, or prohibitively expensive. Data assembled from the database was input into a test-learner, and the classifier attempted to assign values to the undated rune-stones based on the information obtained from those already assigned to a phase. Ultimately very low levels of differentiation were detected by the classifier, making it difficult to assign dates, but this homogeneity is in itself significant, as it can be interpreted as being symptomatic of high levels of cultural similarity across the various Scandinavian communities of the Viking Age. The implications of the use of the Bayes Classifier, among other forms of analysis, will be discussed, and possibilities for future use explored.

It is well known that the predecessor of Old Norse (ON) must have gone through a process of final devoicing at some point in time. As pointed out by O. Grønvik and H. Bjorvand, among other scholars, this follows quite clearly from internal reconstruction of Old Norse. Forms like 3. sg. pret. ON batt ‘bound’ and sprakk ‘sprang’ from *band (cf. Gothic band) and *sprang (cf. Old High German sprang) can be understood only by assuming an intermediate stage *bant, *sprank with final devoicing and subsequent assimilation, i.e. *band > *bant > batt and *sprang > *sprank > sprakk. However, many details about this devoicing process remain unclear: When it happened, which sounds it affected and – most importantly – which conclusions, if any, it allows us to draw for the reconstruction of the phoneme system of Proto-Norse. This is of interest not least because of potential ramifications for the phonetic character of Runic (< *-z). To shed some light on the issue of final devoicing in Proto-Norse, it will be necessary to investigate whether the attested Runic inscriptions contain any indications of it. As for the chronology, it is necessary to look at the evidence from internal reconstruction of Old Norse and attempt to establish a relative chronology with respect to other sound laws. Furthermore, the talk will include a brief general discussion of devoicing, including a comparison with final devoicing in Gothic.

Runstenen Vg 199 är en inskrift som, trots att den varit känd sedan 1950-talet, ännu inte tolkats på ett tillfredsställande sätt. Att stenen har ansetts svårtolkad är förståeligt, då den är skadad och flera partier av inskriften därmed saknas. Dessutom är många av runorna på stenen så pass vittrade att det bitvis är i det närmaste omöjligt att ens komma fram till en säker läsning. De runor som går att skönja är dock mycket tydliga och ett flitigt och till synes regelbundet bruk av skiljetecken bidrar även till ett intryck av att ristaren tydligt velat markera ordgränser (eller liknande). Det torde således vara en rimlig utgångspunkt att stenen också har lexikal innebörd och att en grundläggande undersökning av stenen därmed är berättigad.

I detta föredrag presenterar jag ett förslag till fullständig tolkning av inskriften, samt kommenterar och problematiserar på några punkter Sven B.F. Janssons ursprungliga läsning, vilken är den enda som hittills framlagts. (Stenen har överhuvudtaget inte behandlats av forskningen sedan Västergötlands runinskrifter publicerades.) I min föreslagna tolkning gör jag även ett försök att fylla i de partier av inskriften som saknas, i hopp om att detta ska kunna bidra till en helhetsförståelse av inskriftens innehåll samt av dess sociokulturella sammanhang. En sådan tolkning kan dock aldrig bli mer än spekulation, men det finns på de flesta punkter paralleller till andra runinskrifter. I sin helhet lyder tolkningen (i fornvästnordisk normalisering):

[Steinn k]veðsk h[æra]n sýna lengi, kveðsk Hjalms Kunna Halfd[anar sonar langa t]íð g[eta]. G[ott] orð bar.

’Stenen förkunnar att den länge ska synliggöra den gråhårige, den förkunnar att den en lång tid ska omtala Hjälm den berömde, Halvdans son. Han hade ett gott rykte.’

Vad gäller själva läsningen är det i synnerhet det ord jag tolkat som fvn. hæran ’den gråhårige’ som kan diskuteras. Jansson återger det som h – – – n, men anser sig kunna urskilja en runföljd hiran. En nyligen utförd fältundersökning pekar dock mot att den troligaste läsningen är antingen hiron eller hirsi, där det senare alternativet, väl i så fall att tolka som fvn. hérsi ’här’, skulle tvinga fram en viss revidering av min tolkning, samtidigt som det skulle innebära att inskriftens fem första ord bildar en nästintill ordagrann parallell till den jylländska stenen DR 131.

Utöver hæran kan också de ord jag valt att läsa som tíð respektive geta komma att behöva omvärderas, då inskriften i båda fallen är skadad och därmed ofullständig. Vidare bereder tolkningen av personnamnet ett flertal bekymmer. I den tolkning som föreslås här förutsätts två efterställda binamn, vilket är ovanligt men inte unikt. Som helhet får dock denna tolkning av Vg 199 betraktas som ett första steg mot en bättre förståelse av inskriften.

The Anglo-Saxon runic poem is often regarded as the most popular and well-known representative of the English runica manuscripta tradition. It was discovered on a separate folio attached to MS Cotton Otho B. X, which, unfortunately, was lost in the 1731 Cottonian fire. The existence of the folio and its runes were recorded twice before its destruction by the cataloguers Thomas Smith and Humfrey Wanley. The latter was in all likelihood also the first to document the runic poem in detail, and provided George Hickes with a copy of the text for inclusion in the Linguarum veterum septentrionalium thesaurus grammatico-criticus et archæologicus (1703-05). This first full documentation and first edition is often scrutinised: in 1903 Hempl published an article in which he claimed that Hickes made additions to the work and did not print a reproduction. This sparked a protracted discussion about the form of the runic poem and the verisimilitude of Hickes’s edition. Although the presence of annotations is seldom challenged, René Derolez and Ray Page have questioned whether Hickes and Wanley were responsible for them.

This paper focuses on the runological knowledge demonstrated by both scholars in their work and communications, and the influence this might have had on their recording of the runic poem.

In 1697 Hickes requested that Wanley, his assistant and co-author of the Thesaurus, collect the runic material from the manuscripts he catalogued. This material was then studied by both scholars and published in their work. Their communication and the treatment of this material in the Thesaurus provides valuable insight into both their ideas and Wanley’s practical skills as a runologist. In his article from 1973, Page examined Wanley’s ‘runic’ copying skills by comparing the Thesaurus reproduction of the MS Cotton Domitian A. IX fuþorc from the Grammatica Anglo-saxonica et Moeso-gothica chapter to the manuscript, since this was the suspected source for the runic poem additions. His results are valuable but limited, because most of Wanley’s collected material, consisting mainly of fuþorcs and runic alphabets, is printed in the Tabellae as part of the Grammaticae Islandicae chapter. The runes in the Tabellae were not only copied and collected, but also alphabetised and transliterated by Wanley; an examination of this material with regards to his accuracy and knowledge of runes is given in this paper. Consequently, by thus expanding upon Page’s comparison, a general conclusion can be drawn on the influence of the editors’ ability to read runes on the first edition, and the probability of Hickes and Wanley’s involvement as annotators.

The goal of this work is to classify the types of the “lock” element and its functions in the ornaments of the Uppland runestones. The lock is a natural (in a picture of a snake) or an artificial element of the ornament connecting the opposite ends of the snake, on which the runic inscription is located.

In the course of the preliminary study we detected the main elements of runestone ornament: wide snake on which the inscription is located; narrow snake(s) without any runes on; crosses of all shapes, types and sizes. The head and the tail of the wide snake, on which the runes are carved, are usually connected. This connection is always depicted and emphasized by an additional element (the lock).

We studied one hundred “locks” found on runestones in Uppland (photo archive christerhamp.se) according to several parameters: their position of in the whole picture, type of the connection/crossing, the position of the lock according to the central picture.

As a result we detected several types of connection. Some conclusions on the positioning of the inscription and its relation to all the other elements of the monument were drawn.

In this paper, I address two important issues regarding the description and decipherment of runes on metal objects. The first point concerns a comprehensive epigraphic analysis of runic writing prior to identifying runic graphs. Exemplified with autopsy-based results from the Continental runic corpus, I will present a systematic way of analysing and documenting epigraphic features, such as the quality of strokes and the visual presentation of the inscription. This method not only provides data for comparative studies on writing techniques, the level of technical writing proficiency and layout practices, but also serves as a basis for a runo-graphic analysis. Second, I discuss both theory and practice of the identification of runic graphs and graph-types as well as the role of the epigraphic analysis in identifying and describing variation on the level of the writing system.

Based on this, I will demonstrate how material, technical and linguistic aspects interact in the analysis of epigraphic writing. The fact that the boundaries between these aspects may be blurred due to reasons such as material damage, technical uncertainties, fragmentary writing knowledge or even functional aspects both prompts further theoretical and methodological considerations and opens a discussion on the interpretation of writing practices and the possible functions of epigraphic writing in the Continental runic corpus.

As a common textbook definition, a grapheme is defined as ‘the smallest distinctive unit in a writing system’ and an allograph as a ‘variant of such a distinctive unit’ [Bußmann 2002:264; This definition is also given by Barnes & Page (2006:67).].

‘Smallest’ seems to be unproblematic, however, the second requirement ‘distinctive’ is more difficult to define for the Old English runes.

Although it is relatively easy to define ‘distinctive’ for modern Latin fonts for the computer as <a> and <e> in Times New Roman are clearly ‘distinctive’. But can we say the same when it comes to the Pre-OE fuþorc where only approximately 10 inscriptions can be reliably defined as written between ca. 400-600? Do we have enough data to clearly define, for example, the Pre-OE rune h? What are the criteria for categorizing the mirror runes on the Spong Hill Urn?

In my paper I will mainly look at the Pre-Old English inscriptions (400-600) and make an attempt to provide a catalogue of graphemes for Pre-Old English. As the definition of grapheme has to be made in relation to the phoneme, my catalogue will also include the Pre-Old English phonemes and allophones. This will shed light on the earliest stock of the English language and may lay the basis for further studies on the nature of the fuþark the settlers brought with them to England in the process of the adventus saxonum.

The inscription alu, found on bracteates as well as other objects including the Elgesem stone (KJ 57), has been examined repeatedly, with interpretations as diverse as “magic,” “ale,” “hale,” and “protection.” Nearly all of the analyses of alu have begun from the assumption that the use of bracteates was sacral and thus the meaning of this charm word was also sacral.

The metal-detector discovery of a new bracteate (IK 635) from Scalford, Leicestershire, in 2010, may throw new light on the use of bracteates as well as the interpretation of alu. This new find has an imitation Latin inscription but no runes, so it cannot be used to bolster the argument that word and image are directly linked. Yet the Scalford piece offers a connection between bracteates and beverages (ale?) through its unique image, interpreted as a man holding a glass beaker. This image type has not previously been known on bracteates, although scenes of women and men offering beverages are displayed on several guldgubbar and Gotlandic picture stones. Behr proposes that the Scalford picture should be read as a profane example of hospitality by a leader in the Germanic hall rather than as a magical or divine scene.

I propose that we should consider the profane use of bracteates by women and men as we interpret the runic inscriptions on them. From this perspective, I will examine the interpretation of alu as “ale” used in feasting and drinking in the hall and perhaps also as an aid during and after childbirth.

Föredraget presenterar ett nytt tolkningsförslag av nekrologen på Ög 83. Förslaget ansluter till Alexandra Petrulevich tolkning av ortnamnet, men är delvis oberoende av det så länge som ualu kan förutsättas innehålla ett ortnamn.

Inskriften på Ög 83 lyder · þura · sati · stin · þasi · aftiʀ · suin · sun · sin · ʀs · uʀstr · o · ualu · Þōra satti stæin þannsi æftiʀ Svæin, sun sinn, es vestr ā ualu. Elias Wessén översätter detta: ’Tora satte denna sten efter Sven, sin son. Han (var) västerut på Valö(?).’ Wessén har attribuerat ristningen till Torkel. På två andra närbelägna runstenar som har signerats av resp. attribuerats till Torkel finns liknande nekrologer. Ög 81 inleds med þukir · resþi · stin · þansi · eftiʀ · asur · sen · muþur·bruþur · sin · iaʀ · eataþis · austr · i · krikum · Þōrgærðr(?) ræisþi stæin þannsi æftiʀ Assur Sæin, mōðurbrōður sinn, eʀ ændaðis austr í Grikkium.  Wessén: ’Torgärd(?) reste denna sten efter Assur, sin morbroder, som dog österut i Grekland.’ Ög 82 lyder : þurkil ṛị– —- þ̣ạsị ịftiR · uint · tusta · sun · iaʀ · ati · hug|bu :  Þōrkell ræi[st](?) … þannsi æftiR Øyvind, Tosta sun, eR ātti Haugbȳ. Wessén: ’Torkel reste denna sten efter Övind, Tostes son, som ägde Högby.’

Runologerna har genomgående räknat med att runföljden ʀs i Ög 83 skall tolkas som relativpartikeln es och att ett ord för ’var’, ’föll’ eller dylikt saknas. Själv vill jag diskutera möjligheten av att förstå ordet som es (3 pers. sing. av vesa/veʀa ’vara’), här i en betydelse ’förbli(va), vara kvar’.

Although (North) Germanic languages are known to have been in close contact with Finnic and Sámi languages throughout their history, to my knowledge no systematic attempts have been made to identify possible Finno-Ugric elements in runic inscriptions. This may in part reflect assumptions about linguistic and cultural contacts that appear outdated in the light of recent developments in archaeology, onomastics and contact linguistics.

Olsen and Bergsland’s (1943) suggestion that the 12th c. spade from Indriðastaðir, Iceland, contained the Sámi word (bohtit ‘to come’, spelled boattiat) was emphatically rejected by the runological community but persists as lore in Sámi circles (see Willson 2012).

Antonsen’s (2002:114) offhand suggestion that ahti in a 4th c. strapring from Nydam, Denmark, represents the Finnish heroic/divine name Ahti has been quoted (e.g. Grünzweig 2004: 85-86) as warranting further investigation.

I will discuss the methodological issues that must be addressed in assessing a proposed Finnic or Sámi interpretation.  In order for a non-Germanic interpretation to be regarded as defensible, the following must all be plausible:

  1. The linguistic forms for all languages concerned for the time and place
  2. The mapping between letter-forms and phonetic strings
  3. The meaning of the inscription in the context of runic writing practice Proposed name elements must be assessed in the context of the naming systems of the languages involved.  Preferably there should be archaeological, onomastic or documentary evidence for contacts in the relevant area.

My poster addresses the issue of writing and reading runes in medieval Scandinavia from the perspective of specific visual strategies of runic literacy. The poster highlights the question of whether certain inscriptions allow us to trace a practice of employing recurring graphematic representations of particular ‘runic words’ or ‘phrases’ that stand visually and topographically distinct. These could be considered runic ‘sight words’ – having been automatically produced and/or recognized, without engaging in the active encoding or decoding of their composite elements. ‘Sight words’ is a term that is commonly used when outlining the developmental stages of children when they learn to read and write. The designation refers to words that children would memorize and recognize as a whole by sight (other common preliminary stages of writing include scribbling, the use of letter-like symbols and strings of letters – some aspects of which have been related to the analysis of runic inscriptions in a study by Hagland and Trøite Lorentzen from 1997). This study does not explore ‘sight words’ as evidence of developmental stages of rune carvers; the emphasis is on whether a phenomenon akin to ‘sight words’ could have been of significance in the production and experience of (parts of) runic texts. The term is here used as a general reference to the visual features as well as topological shapes and junctions of certain runic letter combinations and words. Runic ‘sight words’ could be compared to visualized objects – being more easy to memorize, (re)produce and recognize. The poster illuminates the preliminary insights and results of a study that examines medieval runic inscriptions; similar aspects could be analyzed in connection with inscriptions from other periods of time. The principal focus is on inscriptions preserved from urban environments, carved into materials such as wood and bone. Of particular interest are runic Latin inscriptions that contain widely known texts which were in essence memorized quotes and reveal varying degrees of runic and Latin literacy. The recorded shorter and longer passages of Latin prayers like Ave Maria and Pater Noster have in numerous studies been analyzed as displaying specific runic spelling conventions and/or following medieval pronunciation. It is further possible to look at the graphematic rendering of these and other runic texts in terms of their visual and topographical features, identifying units of text that could have been memorized and recognized as a whole by sight.

Die Inschriften der Goldbrakteaten der Völkerwanderungszeit stellen insofern eine Besonderheit dar, als die auf ihnen vorkommenden Zeichen verschiedenen Kategorien (Runenschrift, Lateinschrift, Beizeichen, Ornamente, Bildelemente) zugeordnet werden können. Während die Identifikation bei vielen Zeichen keine Schwierigkeiten bereitet, ist die Zuordnung bei einigen unklar.  Dabei stellen sich verschiedene Fragen: Handelt es sich um ein  Schriftzeichen oder liegt ein Beizeichen, Ornament oder Bildelement vor (Schrift oder Nicht-Schrift)? Ist das Zeichen ein „echtes“ Schriftzeichen oder handelt es sich um Schriftimitation (Schrift oder Schriftimitation)? Um welche Schrift handelt es sich (Runen- oder Lateinschrift)? Insbesondere die Frage, ob es sich um Runen oder lateinische Kapitalis handelt, ist im Einzelfall oft schwierig zu entscheiden, da sich bestimmte Zeichenformen gleichen (z.B. die g-Rune und das Kapitalis-oder X, die ältere Form der e-Rune und das Kapitalis-M) oder in ihrer individuellen Ausführung ähneln (z.B. die h-Rune und das Kapitalis-N).

Die meisten Forscher gehen bei der Beurteilung der fraglichen Zeichen eher unsystematisch vor und/oder machen die Zuordnung von einer (möglichen) sprachlichen Deutung der Inschrift abhängig. In dem Vortrag soll in einem ersten Schritt versucht werden, die einzelnen Meinungen und Argumente am Beispiel bestimmter Inschriften näher zu beleuchten. In einem zweiten Schritt soll es darum gehen, mögliche formale Unterscheidungskriterien zu erarbeiten, wobei graphische Merkmale (runde vs. eckige Formen, Vorhandensein von Serifen) und kontextuelle Merkmale (Vergleiche mit den anderen auf dem Brakteaten vorkommenden Zeichen) im Vordergrund stehen sollen.