The curvilinear – rounded – designs containing carved runes on a number of tombstones can be found around the Uppsala domkyrka (cathedral). The historic province of Uppland, Sweden – of which Uppsala was the centre – has the largest concentration of runestones in the world and about half of them date to after the area’s conversion to Christianity, beginning in the 8th century. Nonetheless, carving runes on stones follows a long Viking tradition that goes back perhaps as early as the 4th century AD.
The carving on the cathedral’s runestone Fv1976 107 is attributed to the runestone master, Ofeigr Öpir (or Ofæigʀ Øpiʀ in Old Norse), who carved runes in the late 11th to early 12th century AD in the Uppland region. His style uses a single serpent in the rounded form of a figure of eight which, in turn, serves as the outline for the runes. More convoluted rounds of serpents intertwine the figure of eight. The designs often incorporate a Christian cross. Runestone Fv1976 107 contains Öpir’s signature with the word identifying him as the carver in runes along the bottom: ᚤᛒᛁᚱ ᛫ ᚱᛁᛋᛏᛁ (as best as I can transcribe!)
The runestone was discovered in 1975 during restoration of the cathedral and catalogued in 1976 (page 107 of the rune register, Fornvännen). It had been used as a building stone in one of the buttresses. The runic text on this tombstone is translated as:
…-bjǫrn and Brandr had the stone raised in memory of Karlungr, their father; and Ketilbjǫrn in memory of (his) brother. Œpir carved the runes
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