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New Thoughts on Translation of Viking Runestone

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Sweden Viking RunesGOTHENBURG, SWEDEN—According to a statement released by the University of Gothenburg, an interdisciplinary team of researchers from several universities has produced a new translation of the Rök monument, a stone which was carved with runes and erected in southern Sweden around A.D. 800. Scholars had previously thought that the inscription described a series of battles, but the new interpretation suggests the text consists of nine riddles featuring the sun and Odin, king of Asgard, and his warriors. Recent archaeological research indicates that cooler temperatures in Scandinavia brought about crop failures, hunger, and extinctions during the Viking era. Archaeologist Bo Gräslund of Uppsala University said a solar storm and a solar eclipse also occurred before the runestone was erected. Scholars now say the riddles describe the conflict between light and darkness, warmth and cold, and life and death. For more on Viking-era Sweden, go to "Hoards of the Vikings."

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