Saturday 14 October 2023

1,000-Year-Old Viking Runes May Finally Solve Mystery of an Ancient Queen

Jelling 2 with runes chosen for analysis. (3D-scanning by Zebicon, drawing by Laila Kitzler Åhfeldt.)3D-scanning by Zebicon, drawing by Laila Kitzler Åhfeld

A team of archaeologists from the National Museum of Denmark has used 3D scanning technology to analyze runes carved in stone that date back to more than 1,000 years ago. Their study of the ancient texts, published in the peer-reviewed journal Antiquity, has revealed new details about a mysterious Danish queen, Thyra, which together suggest she played a significant role in the emergence of the Scandinavian nation as a political force.

The discovery was made by re-analyzing two sets of runestones which were carved by Vikings in Denmark in the 10th century C.E. The first set, the Jelling Stones, was linked to Harald Bluetooth, a 10th century Danish King who is widely-regarded as the creator of Denmark. Bluetooth was the son of King Gorm and Queen Thyra — but historians had scant information about the couple or their reign. 

But the second set of runestones, called the Ravnunge-Tue Stones after its rune-carver, sheds a little more light on royals, and some historical analyses had theorized that several stones were inscribed in honor of Thyra on Bluetooth’s orders.

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