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.