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The Rune Stone Diaries

About the blog

This is an extension of my Runes'n'ruins-site. Here I will tell you a bit more about the rune stones and also give you their exact locations as .kmz-files, which you can open with Google Earth on your computer, pad or phone. I hope that you'll find it easy to navigate through. Enjoy!


Useful links Posted on Tue, March 05, 2013 12:34:46

I’ll make it easy for myself, and just give you the URL to a couple of good sites.

Wikipedia gives a good introduction :

Still Wikipedia – under “Further reading”, there’s “Die Goldbrakteaten der Völkerwanderungszeit. Ikonographischer Katalog.” There are detailed descriptions of them in German, but if you just want to see pictures of them you open “Band 1:3”, “Band 2:2” and “Band 3:2”. If you don’t want to study the files online, you’ll find a pdf-download pretty high up to the left.

I also gave the bracteates on my site a page of their own :

I’ll add more links later on, when I find them….

Digitized Swedish runic inscriptions

Useful links Posted on Tue, March 05, 2013 12:07:37

Swedish National Heritage Board has digitized old books with pictures of most of the Swedish rune stones (at least the ones that had been found until then).

Here’s the link to their link-page :

There are detailed descriptions of them in Swedish, but if you just want to see the pictures of the stones, you have to look for the .pdf’s that are filed under PLANSCHER. Do check it out, ’cause it’s a very good site.

Ög 209

Reading runes Posted on Mon, March 04, 2013 10:56:44

I’ll show you how I do, when I try to read the runes on a rune stone. I picked a beautifully carved one from the province of Östergötland in Sweden. It’s standing next to two other rune stones in Kårarp, which is situated about 20 kilometers west of Linköping.

The number of this stone is Ög 209. Many of the rune stones were raised by someone to commemorate a relative who had died. Then we have to look for names + the words “raised this stone after”.

Here’s “risti : stin : eftir” – notice that the dot on the “I” in the last word turns the “I” into an “E”. OK – That was “raised this stone after”. Then the word before this sequence ought to be a name, right ?

“Tusti” – that’s his name…. “raised stone after” – then there ought to be another name, right ? (or in this case two of them)

“Tuka : auk : Urusta” – “auk” is and, so there are two names. I’ve seen the name Tuka before, but never the other one….

The last words on the stone tell us what relationship Tuka had to the other ones : “nefa : sina” = his nephews.

So rune by rune the text is : : tusti : risti : stin : iftiR * tuka * auk * u÷rusta : nefa : sina :

Modernized it’s : Tosti reisti stein eptir Tóka ok Orrosta, nefa sína.

In English it’s : Tosti raised the stone in memory of Tóki and Orrosti, his nephews.

The Younger Futhark

The Younger Futhark Posted on Mon, February 18, 2013 15:16:46

Let’s take a look at the Younger Futhark. It only consists of 16 runes, which doesn’t cover all the letters or sounds in the language in the days when it was created, but on the other hand there were no grammar books back then. “Back then” was the 9th-11th century (the Elder Futhark was in use roughly between 2nd-8th century).

OK, let’s look at them one by one. First of all you can see that they are divided into three groups : 6 + 5 + 5, and the Futhark is named after the first group. There are some runes that look a bit like letters that we use today, but other runes may look new to you.

16 runes shouldn’t be so hard to learn by heart, should it ? Let’s give it a try !

We’re getting a very simple start : The F look almost the same in both scripts. U is the same but upside down. TH is very characteristic = easy to remember. There are two A’s and two R’s in the Futhark. The first A has a different sound : more of an O or an Å. The other A is the ordinary one. The two R’s : it seems like there were different pronunciation of them too. When a word ends with and R, they used the R that looks like an fork. Otherwise they used the R that look like a modern R. The K look like a legless K.That was the first group.

H : well, you just have to memorize this one. I and S are easy to remember, while N and A are harder to distinguish from each other. A vertical line with a line going across it slightly upwards / downwards, but which is which ? You’ll learn it. That was the second group.

T and B look very familiar, don’t they ? M : turn it upside down and cut off the upper part, and there you have your M. L look a bit like an upside down L, with a different angle of the “shelf”. And the R once again : looks like an upside down M, and it’s placed last in the third group.

As I wrote earlier, these runes don’t cover all the sounds in the language, so I can imagine that the carver of the rune stones had problems sometimes to make himself understood. Pretty soon there were some additions to some runes, to create soundvariations of them. A dot in the K made a G instead, a dot in the middle of the I-line made an E, and two dots inside the B turned it into a P.

Next time I’ll find rune stones with texts that are easy to read, so that you can try out what you just have learned.

The Elder Futhark

The Elder Futhark Posted on Fri, January 25, 2013 22:57:09

Before looking at the Younger Futhark, I’m going to share a couple of photos and links on the Elder Futhark. It consists of 24 runes, and it was in use roughly from the 2nd-8th century. You’ll find it on the gold bracteates, a few rune stones in Scandinavia, and on objects like weapons and jewelry for instance. Read more about it here.

This is what the runes look like – it’s a close-up from the Kylver rune stone from Gotland :

Here’s another wikipedia-link that will tell you more about that stone….

It was thanks to the Kylver stone and two bracteates that the runologists got the order of the runes correct. Here’s the Grumpan-bracteate :

The other bracteate was the Vadstena bracteate, that got stolen from the Swedish Museum of National Antiquities in 1938, and has never been seen since….

Rune stones carved by Öpir

Assorted Posted on Mon, January 21, 2013 23:34:56

This post is a continuation of the previous one, but it won’t be very long. Last time (which is just a few minutes ago) I found all the inscriptions that Öpir or Œpir had carved. I copied them from Samnordisk Runtextdatabas and then pasted them into a text document, and below you can see the result in the attached file. Oh, and when there is a cross after the U+number – that means that the rune stone is now lost, but the text (and often also the design) was recorded some time before it was lost or destroyed. Even if the part of the stone where Œpirs name would have been (if the stone is partly damaged) is gone, his way of designing them where so individual, that the runologists are sure he was the one who carved it.

Essential software

Useful links Posted on Mon, January 21, 2013 23:13:01

Here’s a programme that you have to have : Samnordisk Runtextdatabas. You’ll find it here : It’s for free, but it only works in Windows. I’ll show you how to switch it over to English and how to navigate in it.

Now it’s time to chose which province in Sweden / which country to take a closer look at.

You can see that the menus (Inscription, Edit, etc) are now in English. Pick one province. You’ll see below that I chose Uppland, which is where you’ll find most of the runic inscriptions in Sweden.

Under Format I chose Text format, and then selected from the row to the left and moved them to the right – then OK. Then you could get what the rune stone says rune by rune, translation into modern Swedish and to English, where you can find it, the dating, material, and other information also if you please.

Then I chose Carver under Selection….

…. and wrote Öpir, and chose a single inscription – then the rest of them….

When I took a closer look at U 687, I wanted to see where to find it on Google Earth. Just click on the map-icon (or press F6).

That’s how I found it :


Assorted Posted on Sun, January 06, 2013 00:22:46

Today there will just be this link for you to the rune stones that Jarlabanke from Täby in Uppland, Sweden had raised to acknowledge himself.

“Jarlabanke had these stones made after himself while he was alive. He made this bridge for his soul. He alone owned all of Täby.” – that’s what it says on five of the rune stones.

There are pictures of the stones, transliterations, transcriptions and translations of the text, so there is really nothing much for me to add. Later on I’ll add a kmz-file with some 25-30 rune stones in that area….

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