Artifacts with ancient runes found in Norway
One of the artefacts discovered / Norsk institutt for kulturminneforskning
Learning ancient languages is not easy. And that can be helped by long-standing artifacts that contain sample text. But such finds are rare, so it’s no surprise that archaeologists were delighted with the runes discovered in Oslo.
In the capital of Norway, Oslo, archaeological excavations have been carried out in the Middelalderparken park. It once housed the southern part of medieval Oslo. The research was fully justified, as scientists found two surprisingly rare artifacts at once: a wooden tablet with ancient runes on one side and Latin text on the other, as well as a bone fragment. , which also contains Old Norse runes.
A plaque with Latin text and runes on opposite sides / Photo by Heritage Daily
Learn more about the finds
Excavations in the Middelalderparken were not easy, as there are also the ruins of the old Church of St. Clement and the ruins of the former Kongsgård royal estate. Now new artifacts have been found there:
- A wooden board. On one side – Latin text, on the other – runes in Old Norse.
- The bone of a large domestic animal (horse or cow) with a runic inscription, which consists of 13 runes on one side and an indistinct one on the other. It is the first runic bone discovered in Norway for 30 years.
Bones with runes / Photo by NICU
Professor Christel Silmer specializes in runes and iconography. She gave an initial assessment and tried to interpret the text.
These are two interesting discoveries that broaden our knowledge of runic knowledge, calligraphy and the use of languages in medieval cities,
– said the professor.
The interpretation of the runes and the Latin inscription turned out to be quite difficult, as the letters do not seem very clear and the piece of wood is probably not solid.
- Christel says that the wooden tablet is written in Latin “manus Domine / i”. “Manus” translates to “hand” and “Dominate” means “lord, God”. Silmer suggests that this can be part of the Latin prayer In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum. God of truth… ”. Additionally, the researcher has found small signs on the tree, but they have yet to be deciphered. The teacher thinks it can mean the phrase “it’s true”
- A woman’s name is inscribed with runes – “Bryngjerd, er det / som det…”. However, in the context of the inscription with the runes, it is probably a continuation of the prayer in Latin.
- The inscription on the bones of the animal has not yet been deciphered. The researcher suggests that the runes refer to either a person’s personal name or a nickname.
Scientists, of course, will continue to study valuable artifacts that will help them better understand “runic language” and God’s place in the lives of ancient Scandinavians.