The past Norwegian rune chromatic was recovered during an excavation of a sedate tract successful Hole municipality, adjacent Tyrifjorden (Lake Tyri) westbound of the superior Oslo. It has an inscription the researchers judge whitethorn beryllium betwixt 1800-2000 years old.
The exceptional find was made during the autumn of 2021, by archaeologists from the Museum of Cultural History successful Oslo.
The oldest runes ever?
The find is yet made nationalist aft a radiocarbon dating of different worldly recovered successful the sedate unneurotic with the rune stone, amusement that these artefacts day backmost to immoderate clip betwixt 0-250 CE. That means we are backmost successful what is called the Roman Iron Age.
And it means, according to the researchers from the Museum of Cultural History, that it whitethorn beryllium the earliest illustration we person of words recorded successful penning successful Scandinavia.
We cognize precise small astir wherever the archetypal runic alphabet erstwhile came from.
Perhaps this chromatic tin assistance america fig retired conscionable however aged the runic alphabet really is?
And who made up this Germanic written connection with its precise ain letters?
The Svingerud Stone
"Having specified a runic find autumn into our thigh is simply a unsocial acquisition and the imagination of each runologists," says runologist Kristel Zilmer, Professor of Written Culture and Iconography astatine the Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo.
She has spent the past twelvemonth moving connected investigating and interpreting the inscriptions connected the rune stone, portion her colleagues person worked connected dating the sedate successful which the chromatic was found.
The chromatic has been named aft the tract wherever it was recovered – Svingerudsteinen, oregon The Svingerud Stone successful English. (Map from google)
A pistillate named Idibera?
Eight of the runes connected the beforehand look of the chromatic whitethorn beryllium spelling retired the sanction of a woman, according to Kristel Zelmers analysis.
“The substance perchance refers to a pistillate called Idibera and the inscription could mean 'For Idibera',” says Professor Zilmer.
Other possibilities are that idiberug is the rendering of a sanction specified as Idibergu oregon Idiberga, oregon possibly the kin sanction Idiberung.
Could it beryllium that idiosyncratic carved the sanction of the idiosyncratic buried successful the sedate into this stone?
We cognize a batch astir the Viking Age successful Norway, acknowledgment to galore written sources. We besides cognize a batch astir the Norse connection from this time.
Less is known if we spell backmost to the Roman Age. Experts person small cognition astir the Proto-Germanic connection that radical successful Norway and Scandinavia would person used.
The runic connection has besides changed a batch from the clip erstwhile these precise archetypal runes were carved and to the clip erstwhile newer runes were utilized during the Viking Age, astir a 1000 years later.
So what does it say?
“Not each inscriptions person a linguistic meaning. It’s imaginable that idiosyncratic has imitated, explored oregon played with the writing,” Professor Zilmer says.
She wonders if possibly idiosyncratic was learning however to carve runes connected this stone.
Is the Svingerud Stone carved by immoderate of the archetypal radical successful Norway who were capable to carve runes?
The archetypal 3 runes of the alphabet tin beryllium recovered successful 1 spot connected the chromatic ᚠ (f), ᚢ (u) and ᚦ (th). In different letters: f, u and th.
The runic alphabet is called the futhark precisely due to the fact that these are the archetypal letters successful this alphabet. The runic alphabet which has been utilized successful The Svingerud Stone is called the older futhark.
A spearhead from astir 200 CE
A spearhead from Toten, a territory successful Innlandet region successful the eastbound portion of Norway, has until present been assumed to beryllium the oldest Norwegian runic inscription. These runes spell retired the connection raunijaR – challenger – and the spearhead is from astir the twelvemonth 200.
Some of the earliest runic inscriptions we cognize are from Denmark. One of them is written connected a comb and could beryllium from the twelvemonth 160.
The Kylver stone, which was recovered connected the Swedish land Gotland, is from astir 400. This is considered the oldest illustration of an inscription which includes the full older runic alphabet.
Rune means secret
The connection rune is derived from the Norse connection rún, which means secret.
The oldest runic inscriptions we cognize person often been carved into tiny things specified arsenic weapons oregon jewellery.
Researchers person assumed that the archetypal runic alphabet was invented by idiosyncratic sometime betwixt twelvemonth 0 and 200. Meaning not excessively galore years aft the opening of the Common Era.
There has been nary deficiency of theories that effort to explicate however this Germanic alphabet came to be.
But we inactive cognize precise small for sure.
What does look reasonably likely, is that whoever invented the archetypal runic alphabet whitethorn person been inspired by the Latin alphabet.
At the aforesaid time, the archetypal runic alphabet is structured precise otherwise from the Latin alphabet.
Letters from Arabia?
One mentation astir wherefore runes look the mode they do, suggests that they were made similar this successful bid for it to beryllium imaginable to carve them into pieces of wood.
Runes person nary vertical lines that indispensable beryllium drawn crossed the wood atom direction.
Yet different mentation suggests that immoderate of the letters came straight from the Arabia of that time.
Around a 1000 Nabatean archers are said to person served successful the Roman Empire, successful what contiguous is known arsenic Germany. These soldiers from Arabia whitethorn person brought with them cognition astir immoderate of their letters each the mode up to the outer borderline of the Roman Empire, acold North.
This mentation has been projected by the Swedish linguist John Troeng. While astir of the runic letters astir apt deduce from Latin letters, it is imaginable to place astatine slightest 5 letters whose signifier and dependable is inspired by the Aramaic Semitic alphabet which was utilized successful the Nabatean Kingdom, successful present-day Sinai, Jordan and Southern Israel.
In the Nordic countries, runes were replaced by Latin letters betwixt twelvemonth 1000 and 1200. In immoderate places, however, they were utilized passim the Middle Ages and up until astir twelvemonth 1500. They were successful usage the longest successful Iceland and Gotland. The Sami radical are said to person utilized runes up until the 18th century.
In definite places successful the interior of Sweden, runes were adjacent utilized up until the 19th century.
Translated by: Ida Irene Bergstrøm
John Troeng: A Semitic root of immoderate runes. An influential overseas beingness successful Denmark c AD 200, Journal of Swedish Antiquarian Research, 2003
Read the Norwegian mentation of this nonfiction connected forskning.no