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Objects with rare rune inscriptions discovered in Denmark

A magnified view of the runes etched on one part of the comb. Both sides contain the word “comb.”

Danish archaeologists supported financially by the Carlsberg Foundation have uncovered objects with rare runic inscriptions dating to around 800 CE. The discoveries were done during excavations in the old Danish town Ribe.

According to Professor Søren Sindbæk from Aarhus University, who holds a Carlsberg Foundation Semper Ardens-grant and heads the excavation, the new discoveries shed light on a key period of the early Viking age.

Sindbæk found a comb and a small plate of bone or antler, both displaying runic inscriptions, in a marketplace in Ribe, which was once a powerful Viking settlement.

The comb was discovered in Ribe, West Denmark. (Photo: Søren Sindbæk)

The comb dates to the early Viking Age around 800 CE. Alongside the comb, archaeologists also discovered a runic inscription on a small plate of bone or antler.

The discoveries are important since only a handful of runic texts from this period have been found earlier. However, the inscriptions are difficult to decipher because the texts are missing certain features marking the beginning and end of each word due to degradation.

A magnified view of the runes etched on one part of the comb. Both sides contain the word “comb.” On one side it is the verb (to comb) and the other the subject, comb. It was possibly inscribed by two different people. (Photo: Søren Sindbæk)

Read article about the important archeological discoveries in Science Nordic

Read more about the project “Northern Emporium – the Archaeology of Network Urbanism in Viking Age Ribe”


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