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Here’s an extremely useful resource. The Swedish National Heritage Board has scanned the great multivolume corpus publication of Swedish runic inscriptions, Sveriges runinskrifter, and put it on-line for free. Currently as PDF files, but in the future there will also be a structured database. Though the PDF:s have been run through optical character recognition, they don’t seem to have been indexed on Google (yet?).

For an example, read about (p. 547 ff) Kalv’s runestone U 875 at Focksta in Hagby, Uppland, shown above.

Comments

  1. #1 SM
    May 12, 2012

    I wonder how well the OCR will work on the inscriptions- or are they completely transliterated into the Swedish alphabet? OCR and auto-correct can be amusing when a file contains several languages.

  2. #2 Martin R
    May 12, 2012

    Transliterated and interpreted into runic Swedish. The 16 runes of the Viking Period were poorly suited to writing unambiguously.

  3. #3 Phillip Helbig
    May 14, 2012

    Could you say something about Dalecarlian runes? Supposedly runes were used until the early 20th century in Dalecarlia. Were they in continuous use since mediaeval times, or was it a type of creative anachronism? Were they used only sparingly for deliberately “retro” purposes or did people actually use them in day-to-day life?

  4. #4 Martin R
    May 14, 2012

    The Dalecarlia runes were in fact the end of a continuous tradition. They belonged to rural life. The same area had some of the most ancient dialectal traits and land holding patterns in Sweden.

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