41 Fabulous Old Photographs of Ancient Rune Stones in Sweden

There are more than 4,000 runic inscriptions in Sweden, dated from the 3d century up to modern time.

A king he was on carven throne
In many-pillared halls of stone
With golden roof and silver floor,
And runes of power upon the door.
The light of sun and star and moon
In shining lamps of crystal hewn
Undimmed by cloud or shade of night
There shone for ever fair and bright.
The Song of Durin, J.R.R. Tolkien

 

Rune stone, Herstadberg, Östergötland, Sweden Three girls at a runestone (Ög 46) on Ströbo meadow at Herrstaberg. The inscription says: "Vibern raised this stone in memory of Solva, his brother."

Rune stone, Herstadberg, Östergötland, Sweden
Three girls at a runestone (Ög 46) on Ströbo meadow at Herrstaberg. The inscription says: “Vibern raised this stone in memory of Solva, his brother.” 1880s

 

This album shows old photographs of rune stones in Sweden.

There are more than 4,000 runic inscriptions in Sweden, dated from the 3d century up to modern time. About 2,500 of the inscriptions are made on rune stones, most of them from the 11th century A.D. – the end of the Viking Age. They were not made as grave stones but as memorial stones. Most Swedish rune stones are from the province of Uppland, others are from Södermanland, Östergötland, Västergötland, Småland and other provinces…

The picture stones are memorial stones from about 500-1100 A.D., with images engraved on raised stones, mainly on the island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea.

 

Old Photographs of Ancient Runic Inscriptions and Picture Stones Sweden

Feast to celebrate the mending an reerection of a rune stone (Vs 24) in Hassmyra. The inscription says: “The good husbandman Holmgöt had (the stone) raised in memory of Odendisa, his wife. There will come to Hassmyra no better housewife, who arranges the estate. Rödballe carved these runes. Odendisa was a good sister to Sigmund”. 1900

Old Photographs of Ancient Runic Inscriptions and Picture Stones Sweden

Rune stone (Sö 226) in Norra Stutby, Sorunda. The inscription says: “Björn and Vibjörn and Ramne and Kättilbjörn raised the stone in memory of Gerbjörn, their father”. 1900

Old Photographs of Ancient Runic Inscriptions and Picture Stones Sweden

Men at a rune stone (Vg 62) in Ballstorp, Edsvära. The inscription says: “Utlage raised this stone in memory of Öjvind, a very good tegn”. A “tegn” might be a peasant proprietor, yeoman farmer or a warrior. 1900

Old Photographs of Ancient Runic Inscriptions and Picture Stones Sweden

The Curman children with their french governess at a runestone (U 107) at the Antuna estate, Sweden. The inscription says: “Gerlak had … in memory of Häming, his son; and Ärnmund in memory of Holmfrid, his wife, and in memory of Una/Unna, (his) daughter”. 1880

Old Photographs of Ancient Runic Inscriptions and Picture Stones Sweden

Men at the Sigurd carving (Sö 101) on the Ramsund rock. The Viking Age carving depicts the Old Norse Sigurd saga, about the hero Sigurd who killed the dragon Fafner. The inscription says: “Sigrid , Alríkr’s mother, Orm’s daughter, made this bridge for the soul of Holmger, father of Sigröd, her husbandman”. The men in the photo are, from left: Louis Améen, okänd ung man, Gunnar Andersson and Selim Birger.1897

Old Photographs of Ancient Runic Inscriptions and Picture Stones Sweden

Woman sweeping a flat rock with a runic inscription (U 102). It’s situated in Viby north of Stockholm. The inscription says: “Kale had this flat rock carved in memory of his two sons, and he and Ingetora made a bridge, a great memorial before many men”. 1935

Old Photographs of Ancient Runic Inscriptions and Picture Stones Sweden

Two girls at a rock with a runic inscription (U 90), south ouf Säby farmstead. The inscription says: “Kale had this rock-slab cut in memory of his brother Tärv, and Munde in memory of his kinsman-by-marriage”. 1934

Old Photographs of Ancient Runic Inscriptions and Picture Stones Sweden

Man at a boulder in the sea at Brantevik in Scania, with a runic inscription from 1873.

Old Photographs of Ancient Runic Inscriptions and Picture Stones Sweden

A young Sigurd Curman at boulder with runic inscription (U 112) on two sides. The inscription on the south side says: “Ragnvald had the runes carved in memory of Fastvi, his mother, Onäm’s daughter, (who) died in Ed. May God help her spirit”. The inscripton on the west side says: “Ragnvald had the runes carved; (he) was in Greece, was commander of the retinue”. 1890

Old Photographs of Ancient Runic Inscriptions and Picture Stones Sweden

Runic inscription (Sö 344) on a rock by the Södertälje Bay north of Kiholm. The linguist and professor Elias Wessén is filling in the inscription, which says: “Odbjörn and Sigbjörn and Gudbjörn, those brothers had this stone cut in memory of Björn, their hale father”. 1930

Old Photographs of Ancient Runic Inscriptions and Picture Stones Sweden

Runestones (G 207, 208) at Stenkumla church on the island of Gotland. The inscription on runestone G 207 says: “Botmund and Botraiv and Gunnvat, they raised the stone … farm and sat in the south with the skins (= traded fur). And he met his end at Ulvshale … “. The inscription on runstone G 208 says: “Botmund and Botraiv and Gunnvat they raised this stone … …-hvatr(?), their father. May God and God’s mother help his soul better than we could pray …”. Standing at the stones the photographer’s daughter Miss Gunnel Hamner. 1923

Old Photographs of Ancient Runic Inscriptions and Picture Stones Sweden

Man at runestone (Sö 235) in Västerby, Sorunda. The inscription says: “Gudbjörn and O-….had this stone raised in memory of Vidjärv, their father”. 1900

Old Photographs of Ancient Runic Inscriptions and Picture Stones Sweden

Men at the restoration of a runestone (Vg 104) at the churchyard in Sal. The inscription says: “Torgård (or Torgärd) placed this stone in memory of Tóki, his/her kinsman-by-marriage”. 1936

Old Photographs of Ancient Runic Inscriptions and Picture Stones Sweden

Bicycle leaning against a runestone (Vs 17) in Råby. The inscription says: “Holmsten had the memorial raised in memory of Tidfrid, his wife, and in memory of himself”. 1900

Old Photographs of Ancient Runic Inscriptions and Picture Stones Sweden

Research assistant and archaeologist Hans Hildebrand, (Director General of the Swedish National Heritage Board in 1879-1907) sitting beside the Rök Stone (Ög 136). The runestone – covered with nearly 750 runes – was raised in the 9th century AD by Varin in memory of his dead son Vämod. The Rök Stone is also one of several Historical Sites in trust of the Swedish National Heritage Board. 1872

Old Photographs of Ancient Runic Inscriptions and Picture Stones Sweden

Runestone (U 53) in the Old Town in Stockholm, at the corner of streets Kåkbrinken and Prästgatan. The inscription says: “Torsten and Frögunn they (raised the) … stone in memory of … their son.” The stone was used as building material in the foundations of the house. The cannon was placed there in the 17th century to protect the corner from coaches. 1915

Old Photographs of Ancient Runic Inscriptions and Picture Stones Sweden

Runestone (U 1125) in Krogsta, from the 6th century AD, with a human figure and an inscription. One of three known rune stones in Uppland carved with the elder rune alphabet, and the only one still in its original position. The inscription is only partly deciphered – the text on the backside probably renders the word “stone”. 1900

Old Photographs of Ancient Runic Inscriptions and Picture Stones Sweden

Boy and man at runestone (Ög 106) with animal figure, at Kärna Church. Only two runes remains of the inscription. 1907

Old Photographs of Ancient Runic Inscriptions and Picture Stones Sweden

Fallen runestone (Sö 140) at Korpbron (the Ravens’ Bridge) in Juresta. The inscription says: “Sandar raised the stone in memory of Joar (or Ivar), his kinsman. No-one will bear a more able son. May Tor(?) safeguard(?)”. Behind the rune stone stands a bicycle, probably the photographer’s. 1899

Old Photographs of Ancient Runic Inscriptions and Picture Stones Sweden

Rune stone, Hovgården, Hov, Östergötland, Sweden
Runestone (Ög 77) at Hovgården in Hov. In the middle a cross. The inscription says: “Tunna/Tonna placed this stone in memory of her husband Þorfastr. He was the most unvillainous of men. “. 1894

Old Photographs of Ancient Runic Inscriptions and Picture Stones Sweden

Rune stone (U 824) at Holm Church. The runestone has been used as a stair stone in the cemetary gate. The inscription says: “Joger and Åfrid had this stone raised in memory of the brother of Rodälv in Örberg (?). Åsmund carved the runes”. 1900

Old Photographs of Ancient Runic Inscriptions and Picture Stones Sweden

Runestone (U 448) at Harg. The inscription says: “Igul and Björn had the stone raised in memory of Torsten, their father”. 1910

Old Photographs of Ancient Runic Inscriptions and Picture Stones Sweden

Three children at a flat piece of rock with a runic inscription, near Risinge Church. The inscription was made in 1678 by Eric Bruzaeus, the vicar’s son in Risinge. It says only that the runes were carved in this year.1893

Old Photographs of Ancient Runic Inscriptions and Picture Stones Sweden

Stockholm, Upplands-väsby, Ed, Uppland, Övrigt-Sällskapsliv

Old Photographs of Ancient Runic Inscriptions and Picture Stones Sweden

Man sitting on top of a runestone (Vg 169) in Svedjorna in Södra Ving. Photo from the restoration in 1936. The inscription says: “Tole and Torny made these monuments in memory of Tore and Klakke(?), their sons”. 1923

Old Photographs of Ancient Runic Inscriptions and Picture Stones Sweden

Girl at a runestone (U 1006) in Lejsta. The inscription says: “Vigdjärv and Jorund and Sigbjörn had the stone raised in memory of Svartung, their father”. 1923

Old Photographs of Ancient Runic Inscriptions and Picture Stones Sweden

Runestone (U 10) where it was found at Stora Dalby on Adelsö island. The inscription says: “May this stone stand in memory of Öpir… “. Today is the runestone in Adelsö church. 1917

Old Photographs of Ancient Runic Inscriptions and Picture Stones Sweden

Men raising a runestone (Sö 217) in Berga, Sorunda. The inscription says: “Svärting and Kåre and Gudmund and Skåre and Knut raised this stone in memory of Otrygg, their father, who fell in Gudve’s retinue”. 1930

Picture stone nr I from Hunninge on the island of Gotland. “The Hunninge stone”, from the 8th century A.D, is today in The Gotland Museum in Visby. 1933

Old Photographs of Ancient Runic Inscriptions and Picture Stones Sweden

The Sigurd carving (Sö 101) on the Ramsund rock. Harald Faith-Ell and Elias Wessén is filling the carving with paint. The Viking Age carving depicts the Old Norse Sigurd saga, about the hero Sigurd who killed the dragon Fafner. The inscription says: “Sigrid , Alríkr’s mother, Orm’s daughter, made this bridge for the soul of Holmger, father of Sigröd, her husbandman”. 1928

Old Photographs of Ancient Runic Inscriptions and Picture Stones Sweden

Girl at a flat rock with a runic inscription (U 99) in Skillinge. The inscription says: “Atfare and Torgils had the runes carved in memory of Horse, their father, and in memory of Vidfare, their brother”. 1923

Old Photographs of Ancient Runic Inscriptions and Picture Stones Sweden

Rock with a runic inscription (U 337) in Granby, Orkesta. The inscription says: “Häming and Själve and Johan they have cut (the stone) in memory of their father Finnvid and Vargas and Ragnfrid and their mother, and in memory of Ingegärd and in memory of Kalv and Gärdar and … He alone owned all at first. These were their kinsmen. May God help their spirits. Visäte carved these runes. 1940

Old Photographs of Ancient Runic Inscriptions and Picture Stones Sweden

Runic inscription (U 101) on a boulder in Södra Sätra, Sollentuna, called “Jarlabanke’s stone”. The inscription says: “Häming and Jarlabanke they had the path cleared and the bridges made in memory of their father; and Estrid in memory of her sons Ingefast and Ingvar. May God help their spirits”. 1934

Old Photographs of Ancient Runic Inscriptions and Picture Stones Sweden

Inscriptions on medieval gateposts at Sigrajvs in Vamlingbo on the island of Gotland. The runic inscription on the left gatepost says: “Olav of Suders(?) made us”. In the middle stands the linguist and runologist Otto von Friesen, writing a review protocol. 1923

Old Photographs of Ancient Runic Inscriptions and Picture Stones Sweden

Man standing in the snow at a runestone (U 444) in Bromsta in Odensala. The inscription says: “Ulv and Härbjörn and Näsbjörn and Häming had the stone raised in memory of Borgulv, their father”. 1925

Old Photographs of Ancient Runic Inscriptions and Picture Stones Sweden

Runestone (U 43) at a farmstead in Törnby. The inscription says: “Ofeg and Sigmar and Fröbjörn they raised (the stone) in memory of Jörund, their father, Gunna’s husbandman. Ärnfast cut these runes”. 1934

Old Photographs of Ancient Runic Inscriptions and Picture Stones Sweden

Picture stones at a farmstead in Änge in Buttle, on the island of Gotland. 1937

Old Photographs of Ancient Runic Inscriptions and Picture Stones Sweden

Men moving a runestone (U 33) at Väntholmen in Hilleshög on Färingsö island. The stone is moved with a tractor from a farm where it was found in an ice house to its present place. The inscription says: “Stenfast had … the stone in memory of Björn, his brother … in memory of Björn and Arnfast(?)”. 1937

Old Photographs of Ancient Runic Inscriptions and Picture Stones Sweden

Girl with teddy bear at a runestone (Sö 305) in Söderby in Botkyrka. The inscription says: “Sibbe and Tjarve had the stone raised in memory of Torkel, their father”. 1930

Old Photographs of Ancient Runic Inscriptions and Picture Stones Sweden

Girl in the snow by a fragment of a runestone (Sö 378), found att Ekbacken north of Lissma lake in Huddinge. The inscription says: “…Gerfast(?)”. 1935

Via Swedish Heritage Board