'World's Oldest Rune Stone' Discovered In Norway - And Could Be Love Note

The world’s oldest dated rune stone has been discovered in Norway - and scholars think it may be dedicated to a mystery woman. The new archaeological find is attracting international attention among runic scholars and archaeologists. It was first discovered during the autumn of 2021 when archaeologists at the Museum of Cultural History, University of Oslo, investigated a grave field in Hole near Tyrifjorden, Eastern Norway. Radiocarbon dates show that the age of the grave and thus the inscriptions on the stone probably date back to 1-250 CE (AD). The rune stone is thus one of the very earliest examples of words recorded in writing in Scandinavia and the inscriptions provide new insights into the development and use of runic writing during the early Iron Age. Sometime between 1800 and 2000 years ago, someone stood near Tyrifjorden and carved runes into the 31x32 cm block of reddish-brown Ringerike sandstone. They spoke an early form of the ancient Nordic language that is the ancestor language of modern Nordic languages spoken in Scandinavia today. On the front face of the stone there are eight runes that stand out more clearly than the other inscriptions. Converted into Roman letters they spell: idiberug - which scholars believe may refer to a woman’s name - meaning it could be a dedication or declaration of love. “The text possibly refers to a woman called Idibera and the inscription could mean ‘For Idibera’,” says runologist Kristel Zilmer. “Other possibilities are that idiberug is the rendering of a name such as Idibergu/Idiberga, or perhaps the kin name Idiberung” Those who are curious about the stone can get a closer look at the stone during an exhibition at Oslo's Museum of Cultural History - running from 21 January to 26 February.