World’s oldest runestone discovered in Norway

It was recorded between the year 1 and the year 250 of our era, indicated the Museum of Cultural History in Oslo.

In Norway, archaeologists believe they have found the oldest runestone in the world, engraved almost two millennia ago, several centuries before those already known, they announced Tuesday.

The brown sandstone block, about a foot on a side, was found in a burial ground discovered in the fall of 2021 near Lake Tyrifjorden, northwest of Oslo, during work for the construction of a railway line.

Dating of bones and charred wood found in a tomb next to the stone suggests that the stone was carved between AD 1 and AD 250, Oslo’s Museum of Cultural History said.

It is “a dream for runologists,” the museum estimated.

Runestones are stones engraved with inscriptions made up of runic letters, the oldest known alphabet in Scandinavia.

The first in Norway and Sweden were thought to have appeared in the 300s or 400s, but it turns out that some runestones may be older than previously thought,” runologist Kristel Zilmer told Norwegian news agency NTB.

It is a unique discovery,” he added.

The stone will be on display at Oslo’s Museum of Cultural History from January 21 to February 26.