Lennart Larsson of Vråka, Sweden, discovered a 2 meter (6’5”) tall stone when ploughing his field a few years ago. Little aware of that it was a Viking Age runestone, he decided to keep it for later needs. It wasn’t until he cleaned it in the fall of 2020 and was about to put it to use as a steppingstone that that he discovered that the stone was covered with runes.
Lennart immediately contacted the local museum and archeologists, who were amazed to hear about the find. Even though Sweden has thousands of runestones, it is rare to discover new ones.
The location of the find wasn’t surprising though. They previously found a huge silver treasure on the very same property. Other silver treasure finds have also been made in the region, indicating that a road went through there. Runestones were often placed along roads where they could be seen by all passing by.
Runologist Magnus Källström at the Rune department of the Swedish National Heritage Board has examined the stone. He considers it a sensational find isince it was years ago a previously unknown runestone was found in Sweden.
A traditional runic beast biting his own tail encircles the stone. The shape of the beast’s head points at the stone originating from the early 1000s. This is interesting since the silver treasure found on the property had coins minted in 1020, which could indicate that the stone was risen by the same family who buried the treasure.
Magnus Källström translated the runes to:
“Gärder raised this stone after Sigdjärv his father, Ögärd’s husband.”
The female name Ögärd is interesting, since the composition has not been encountered previously.
The runestone will now be cleaned and undergo preserving treatment, after which it will be risen anew near the site where it was discovered.
Let's all take a moment and remember Sigdjärv, in whose memory the stone was raised for all to see.
(Photos by Ingemar Lundgren at Västervik Museum)