Jan 20, 2023

World’s Oldest Dated Runestone Discovered in Norway

Archeologists in Norway have discovered the world’s oldest dated runestone, featuring runic inscriptions from up to 2,000 years ago.

Researchers at the University of Oslo’s Museum of Cultural History found the stone while investigating a burial ground in the municipality of Hole in eastern Norway in fall 2021, according to the museum.

The stone has been named “Svingerudsteinen,” or “the Svingerud Stone,” after the site where it was found.

Burnt bones and charcoal from the cremation pit where it was discovered revealed that the writing was carved into the reddish-brown sandstone boulder, measuring about a foot in height and width, between 1 and 250 AD.

Runes are the oldest known form of writing in Scandinavia, and the alphabet was widely used from the beginning of the Common Era (CE) and throughout the Viking Age until the late Middle Ages, according to the university.

Scandinavia has several thousand runestones from the Viking Age — between 793 and 1066 AD — but there is less evidence of runes from earlier times.

Of the runestones found in Norway, only about 30 are believed to date from earlier than around 550 AD.

Svingerudsteinen is the only stone found by archeologists that dates to before 300 AD. It contains the first three letters of the runic alphabet — “f,” “u” and “th” — on one of its sides, according to the museum.

You can read more in an article by published in the CNN.News web site at: