Norway makes fascinating discoveries

Archaeologists have found a stone they say dates back to the time of Jesus Christ

A team of Norwegian archaeologists has found what they call the oldest known to date. The small, brownish rock with mysterious inscriptions is said to date back to the time of Jesus Christ and to be about 2,000 years old.

“The up to 2,000-year-old inscriptions are from the very oldest period in the enigmatic history of runic writing,” the of Cultural History in Oslo, which was first to break the news this week, said in a press release.

A small piece of sandstone was found when the team investigated an ancient burial site near Lake Tyrifjorden, just northwest of the Norwegian capital Oslo, in late 2021. According to the Oslo museum, the runes on the stone are “the oldest known writing in .” The author of the runes “spoke an ancient language considered to be the precursor to ,” the mother tongue of all Nordic languages ​​spoken today, the statement added.

The stone has several types of engravings, the museum said, adding that not all “make linguistic sense”. Several runes stand out clearly among other inscriptions and form the word “idiberug,” the statement said. But the researchers have so far failed to confirm its exact meaning, as they believe it may have stood for the name “Idibergu” or the family name “Idiberung”.

Carbon dating of bone and wood discovered in the burial field near the runestone suggests it was inscribed between 1 and 250 AD, when the ancient Roman Empire was on the rise and Christianity was taking its first steps. According to some media reports, the stone is also centuries older than any other runestones previously discovered.

“This find will give us a lot of knowledge about the use of runes in the early . This could be of the first attempts to use runes in Norway and Scandinavia on stone,” Kristel Zilmer, a professor at the , told AP . She also called the discovery “the most sensational thing I’ve had as an academic.”

Runic alphabets were used by the Germanic peoples, including the Scandinavians, before they adopted the Latin alphabet. Some forms of runic writing were still used in Scandinavia throughout the and the Swedish province of retained this form of writing until the 20th century.



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