World’s oldest runestone found in Norway

(ORDO NEWS) — Archaeologists in Norway have found the world’s oldest runestone, according to their estimate.

They believe that the inscriptions on it are up to 2000 years old and date back to the earliest days of the mysterious history of runic writing.

Carved into a flat square block of brownish sandstone are signs that may be the earliest example of words recorded in writing in Scandinavia, the Cultural History Museum in Oslo said.

The museum added that it is “one of the oldest runic inscriptions ever found” and “the oldest dated runestone in the world.”

“This find will give us a lot of new knowledge about the use of runes in the early Iron Age. Perhaps this is one of the first attempts to use runes on stone in Norway and Scandinavia,” says Christel Silmer, professor at the University of Oslo.

Old runes were previously found on other objects, but not on stone. They were found on a bone comb found in Denmark. The tip of a knife or a needle was used to carve the runes, as scientists suggest.

The runestone was discovered in late 2021 during the excavation of a tomb near Tirifjord, west of Oslo, in a region known for several monumental archaeological finds. In the cremation pit, archaeologists found, in addition to stone, burnt bones and charcoal.

The stone, measuring 31 cm by 32 cm, has several types of inscriptions, and not all of them make linguistic sense. Eight runes on the face of the stone read as “Idiberug” – this can be the name of a woman, a man or a family.

Zilmer called this discovery “the most sensational thing she had as a scientist.”

Scientists intend to continue searching in the area.

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