Swedish and Danish rune stones were numbered. The Swedish are sorted by provinces (eg Sö111 Södermanland = 111 ), while the Danish combination of letters DK and bear the count number.

Distribution and time position

Runestones were in Norway and Sweden since the 4th century, in England since the 7th century, Denmark ( 37 in the literature as important prestigious stones) erected, Germany and in the Faroe Islands ( 3) only in the 9th century. The Runestone Berezan 'is in the Ukraine. Sunny stones are found in the Baltic, Greenland and the British Isles outside England.

The rune stone found in the United States of Kensington, Minnesota and in 1971 found, supposed Runestone Rathjensdorf, Schleswig -Holstein are fakes.

Shape and appearance

The carved rune stones in inscriptions and paintings were by color (red, black, white) highlighted that today is faded or has been repainted. There are both rune stones with pictures or symbols as well as image and mask stones with runes. As a mask stones called Stones known only from Denmark ( Aarhus, Sjellebro ), here are pictures carved into boulders, not always carry a runic inscription. The Runestone Vang (Thy ) northwest of Sjørring in Thy is the smallest Runestone Denmark. The largest rune stones are runes blocks, boulders were labeled according to the type of runes ( runes block of Ed, runes and runic block of Sjusta block in Sigtuna U412 ).

The rune stone are mainly of simple type ( Runestone Adala ). In Sweden they are also decorated ( Dragon, Irish Koppel, snake belt, and later cross). Some show motifs from Germanic mythology. The most elaborate among the ornate Norwegian runes comes from Dynna. It is made of red sandstone, full of motifs in the Ringerike style and bears an inscription. The rune stone with the longest known inscription is in Denmark. It is the Bugstein the stone ship of Glavendrup on Funen. In Sweden, the Runestone Rök carries the longest inscription.

Rune stones with older runes

The inscriptions have sometimes reporting character. A long urnordische runic inscription found on a stone, which was initiated in 1919 at Rom, Otterö / Tanum in Bohuslän, discovered. The inscription should read: " Svavar is killed treacherously stenar I carved the runes I Hrarar put the stone on. .. " A similar text is carved on a stone of Möjbroj'Hagby in Uppland. The stone shows runes and a pictorial representation. On top of the flat, about 2.5 m high block the inscription is placed in two parallel rows, below is the representation associated to the best of its kind. It shows a rider with a raised, round shield on his left arm and with a high- held weapon in his right hand. The image of a triumphant warrior recalls Pictures tab on Roman grave stones.

Genera and importance

Rune stones come in two basic types:

  • The " stone writing " is the older type, and covered with vertical, but occasionally horizontal lines runes. Famous examples of this type are the stones of Busdorf, Glavendrup, Karlevi or Rök. The type is prevalent in Norway, western Sweden and Denmark.
  • The " snake stone band " whose runic script runs from the head of a dragon or a snake around the winding and twisting body to the tail end is younger. It has its center in eastern and central Sweden, where the guy exudes, but found virtually no outside Sweden. It developed with the Ringerike and Urnes style (about 980-1100 AD). The stones are illustrations of the "great beast". Magnificent specimens has been / is Tullstorp, Frösön, Nasta, Hansta and Zimri. For stones that were provided with a Christian cross, the features of the snake ( head and tail) are usually omitted and the text is in a ribbon.

Runestones offer - similar to the Roman grave stele - an insight into the self-understanding, values ​​and achievements of individuals who have had the opportunity due to its conditions, to play a role in at least local recorded history. The oldest rune stone, which still stands in its original place, the Einangsteinen in Norway.

One can distinguish various purposes of runes:

  • The memorial stones that have been set by relatives or admirers,
  • The self- representation of stones, the performance of which to boast, who set the stone,
  • Similar, but somewhat different in character appeal of the eschatological stones, the religious services of recently converted to Christianity exchanged believers on them can be seen next to the runes the Christian cross.

Also noteworthy is the considerable number of stones that are set for and by women for themselves or their daughters.

Some stones tell of Gardarike (Russia) including Soe 338 Four of them deal with Serkland ( Caspian Sea ). 26 so-called - Ingvar Runestones report from the hostile array Ingvar, who apparently took part in the Battle of Sasireti and 1041 perished with nearly all his men. About 60 stones report on trips to the Baltic States, England, Greece, Italy, Jursalir (Jerusalem ) and Romania.


Stentoftenstein in Sankt Nicolai Church, Sölvesborg (Sweden)

Stone in front of the Nikolai Church in Sölvesborg

Modern runestone in the production

Left rune stone on the way to Gripsholm Castle

Right rune stone on the way to Gripsholm Castle

Runestone at Karlberg Castle

Runestones of Jelling (Denmark)

A unique group are the Runestones of Jelling. They are at the church of Jelling between the two still pagan grave hills for King Gorm and his wife Thyra Danebod. On the smaller stone is in runic script:

On the large rune stone, the Christ, as well as a fight between lion and snake shows is:

Runestone of Gorm, back

Runestones of kings Gorm and blue tooth

Runestone Royal Blue tooth, face-

Stones on Gotland

There are also ornate box stones. The stones of Ardre are exhibited in Stockholm Historiska Statens Museum.

Other Stones

In Europe there is a second set of image blocks, whose image proportion symbols shows, but also in the field of symbolic representations, such as those Irish cross or show Pillarsteine ​​, lifts out, these are the Piktensteine ​​in Scotland.