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Lecture | Comparative Indo-European Linguistics (CIEL) Seminars

Recent runic finds, mostly from the earliest runic period AD 0-500

Friday 1 March 2024
Comparative Indo-European Linguistics (CIEL) Seminars
Matthias de Vrieshof
Matthias de Vrieshof 1-4
2311 BZ Leiden
Building 2 room 0.02


The 21st century has shown itself as very generous for runologists. Rune finds are extremely rare, but in the past 23 years nine spectacular new finds are recorded. And what’s more, seven are from the oldest period, the Roman Iron Age and the Migration Period. Three runestones are found in Norway and especially one of them, or rather a cluster of fragments with runes, may be about as old as the beginning of runic writing. The texts are disappointingly more of the same kind of texts we know. Something rather more exciting may be found on a runic bracteate found in Jutland: the god Wodan seems to be evoked. Further we have two combs, one from Germany and one from Ribe, both showing the predictable reading ‘comb’. Then we have one enigmatic bone object, found in Ribe, with an enigmatic text; and a very interesting find from France: a ringsword with the typical rune word ‘alu’. Finally, there is a little iron knife found on Funen with runes reading ‘hrila’ to be interpreted as ‘hirila’ with a meaning ‘little sword’.

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