Mysterious Runestone Found in Norway

Herbie J Pilato
The SvingerudsteinenPhoto bythe Museum of Cultural History, Univ. Oslo

According to journalist Andy Corbley and the Good News Network [GNN], "A runestone was discovered in Norway recently that jumps back the origin date of runic writing by hundreds of years to a time before the fall of Rome.

"Based on carbon-dated organic remains, the reddish-brown sandstone block may have been carved as far back as 250 to 1 CE—making it the oldest ever found. Most runestones are named based on the location they were discovered, and this one is called the 'Svingerudsteinen,' or the 'Svingerud Stone.'"

As Corbley continued to report, the stone was "found in 2021 during the excavation of a cremation pit in the Tyrifjorden of Norway which has been the zip code of some truly monumental Viking Age discoveries, such as the Gjermundbu helmet. Found alongside charred bones and charcoal, it may have been coupled with a funerary tradition."

“Having such a runic find fall into our lap is a unique experience and the dream of all runologists. For me, this is a highlight, because it is a unique find that differs from other preserved rune stones,” said runologist Kristel Zilmer, Professor of Written Culture and Iconography at the Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo.

Corbley further revealed how the Germanic peoples were "inspired by the classical alphabets through contact with the Romans" to create "their own characters—runes. But exactly how old is the runic alphabet, and when were the first rune stones made are questions that researchers have been seeking to answer for many years."

As Corbley explained, "The runic language, technically called 'futhark'—a name formed out of the first characters in the alphabet, was widely distributed across Scandaniva from the period following the end of the Roman empire in the West, around the 440s CE, and the Viking Age, traditionally-dated from 793 to 1,066 CE.

"Hundreds of runestones—tall monoliths with memorials carved in intricate patterns—have been found across Scandinavia, most of which use the “younger futhark” runic script, and nearly all bearing a memorial epitaph.

"The ways of writing older inscriptions varied considerably and the language changed a lot between the time when these runes were carved and the epoch of the Viking Age. Interpreting the messages on the stone is, therefore, a challenge, the University of Oslo which currently has the stone at their museum, wrote in a statement.

“The text may refer to a woman called Idibera and the inscription could mean “For Idibera,” said Professor Zilmer.

“Other possibilities are that Idiberug is the rendering of a name such as Idibergu, or perhaps the kin name Idiberung. And there are other possible interpretations—as common with early runic inscriptions.”

Corbley concluded: "Runologists like Zilmer don’t have a large body of reference, as only 30 or so stones have been found with inscriptions dating from the 6th century or earlier."

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Herbie J Pilato is the author of several books about pop culture including RETRO ACTIVE TELEVISION, THE 12 BEST SECRETS OF CHRISTMAS, MARY: THE MARY TYLER MOORE STORY, TWITCH UPON A STAR, GLAMOUR, GIDGETS AND THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, DASHING, DARING AND DEBONAIR, and NBC & ME: MY LIFE AS A PAGE IN A BOOK, among others. He's also a TV writer/producer, and has worked for Reelz, Bravo, E!, TLC, and hosted THEN AGAIN WITH HERBIE J PILATO, the hit classic TV talk show (which premiered on Amazon Prime in 2019).

Los Angeles, CA

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