World’s oldest runestone discovered in Norway

(ORDO NEWS) — Norwegian archaeologists believe they have found the world’s oldest rune stone, which was inscribed almost 2,000 years ago.

A square stone of brown sandstone measuring about 30 by 30 centimeters was found during excavations of an ancient burial ground in late 2021 in Tirifjorden, northwest of Oslo.

According to Oslo’s Museum of Cultural History, carbon dating of bones and wood found in a grave next to the rune suggests that it was inscribed sometime between 1 and 250 AD.

Usually runes are set on graves, especially during the Viking Age. These are stones on which runic letters, the most ancient alphabet, are inscribed.

The discovery, which may date back to the time of Jesus Christ, is a “dream for runologists” who study ancient runic alphabets, inscriptions and their history, a museum in Oslo said.

“We thought that the first runestones in Norway and Sweden appeared in the 300s or 400s, but it turns out that some runestones may be even older than we previously thought,” runologist Kristel Zilmer told the Norwegian news agency NTB.

The origin of runestones remains a mystery.


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