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Gamla Stan/Stockholm, Picture by Norman Hamel

I became interested in rune stones on my first trip to Europe in 1973. A true understanding of why they were done and how we can read them came quite a bit later. Rune stones are nothing more than a monument. Generally, they were done to honor the dead, but, sometimes they were even done for a person while they were still alive. There are even rune stones that people had made to honor themselves (although this is rare).

Over half of the rune stones in Sweden are located in Uppland. Uppland has been an important area for activity in Sweden since the Viking era.

In addition to rune stones, there were rune stavs (made of wood) and of course rune jewelry.

Depending on who you talk to, you will hear that there was two or three different styles of writing. They begin with the style used from about 200-700 AD.

It continues with the style used during the Viking era (from about 800-1100 AD).

And, finally the rune style used during the middle ages (from about 1100-1500 AD).

All in all, it is interesting to see an old rune and read what it says. Try it sometime. I live near Uppsala in Sweden. Around Uppsala University och Uppsala Cathedral (Domkyrka) is a great place to start. There are in excess of ten rune stones within a two block radius.