January 31, 2023

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World’s oldest runestone found in Norway

A square rock of brown sandstone, about 30×30 centimeters, was found during the excavation of an ancient tomb at the end of 2021 (Image: Javad Barsa / NTB / AFP) / Norway Out

Archaeologists from the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo announced on Tuesday Rune Steel It is, according to them, the oldest inscription in the world 2000 yearsGo back to the early days of the enigmatic history of runic writing.

A flat, square block of brown sandstone is carved with inscriptions that may be among the earliest surviving examples of writing. ScandinaviaCultural History Museum said. He also said they were among the “oldest runic inscriptions ever discovered”. “World’s Oldest Dateable Rune Stele”.

A sandstone rock, believed to be the world's oldest runestone, was carved almost 2,000 years ago (Image: Javad Barsa / NTB / AFP) / Norway Out
A sandstone rock, believed to be the world’s oldest runestone, was carved almost 2,000 years ago (Image: Javad Barsa / NTB / AFP) / Norway Out

“This discovery will give a lot of insight into the use of runes in the early Iron Age. It may be one of the first attempts to carve tiles in stone in Norway and Scandinavia,” Christel Zilmer, a professor at the University of Oslo, who reports to the museum, told the news agency. PA.

Runestones are stones engraved with inscriptions made of the runic alphabet, the oldest known alphabet in Scandinavia.

Older runes were found on other materials, but not stone. The oldest runic artifact is a bone comb found in Denmark, Zilmer said, which may have been carved with a knife or needle.

Inscriptions on a sandstone rock (Photo by Javad Barsa / NTB / AFP) / Norway Out
Inscriptions on a sandstone rock (Photo by Javad Barsa / NTB / AFP) / Norway Out

The rune stele was discovered in late 2021 during the excavation of a nearby tomb Direfjord, west of Oslo, in a region characterized by many monumental archaeological finds. Items found in the grave – Burnt bones and charcoal – Allow the date of the inscription to be between 1 and 250 of our era. “We needed time to analyze and date the runic stele,” which is why the announcement was made only on Tuesday, he clarified.

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The 31 by 32 centimeters (12.2 by 12.6 in) stone has several inscriptions, not all of which have been deciphered. The eight runs on the front form the word “Idiperuk”, which can be the name of a person, male or female, or family.

There is much more research to be done on the stone, which is called Zvongerut after the place where it was found.

An archaeologist examines a sandstone rock in Oslo (Image: Javad Barsa / NTB / AFP) / Norway Out
An archaeologist examines a sandstone rock in Oslo (Image: Javad Barsa / NTB / AFP) / Norway Out

“They were thought to have first appeared in Norway and Sweden in the 300s or 400s, but some runestones may be older than previously thought,” runologist Kristel Zilmer told Norwegian news agency NTB.

“It’s a unique discovery,” he said.

The stone will be on display at Oslo’s Museum of Cultural History from January 21 to February 26.

From January 21, a month-long exhibition will be held at the Museum of Cultural History, with Norway’s largest collection of historical artefacts from the Stone Age to the modern era.

(With information from AP and AFP)

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