Runic writing was used by the Germans and is the oldest known form of writing in Scandinavia. They were used extensively from the beginning of the era through the Viking Age to the late Middle Ages. According to Norwegian archaeologists, the stone found is around 2000 years old and therefore several hundred years older than previously known rune stones. The block of brown sandstone was discovered in a burial ground uncovered in autumn 2021 near Lake Tyrifjorden, northwest of Norway’s capital Oslo, the Oslo Museum of Cultural History announced on Tuesday.

Radiocarbon analysis of bone and wood fragments found in a tomb next to the stone has been used to determine its approximate age. According to this, the runes were carved into the stone between 1 and 250 AD. The discovery is “a runologist’s dream,” according to the museum. Runology researches runic writing in order to gain insights into the cultural and linguistic history of the Vikings.

Rune stones are inscribed stones that were usually placed on graves – especially during the Viking Age. The 31 by 32 centimeter block of sandstone from Tyrifjorden bears the inscription “Idiberug”, which was probably intended to pay tribute to the person buried there. “The text may refer to a woman named Idibera, and the inscription could mean ‘For Idibera,'” said runologist Kristel Zilmer. However, there is still a lot of research to be done.

According to the museum, the rune stone is one of the first examples of words recorded in writing in Scandinavia. So far, stones found in Norway and Sweden from the years 300 to 400 AD have been considered the oldest rune stones. The ‘Dream’ Stone is on display at the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo from January 21 to February 26.

tl/so (mit Agenturen)

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The original of this article “Norwegian archaeologists discover oldest rune stone in the world” comes from Deutsche Welle.