Rounded Runes

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

Rounded: The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge


  1. An interesting post as well as nice photos. I think we have similar views on being mindful of our surroundings and I admire your thoughts about understanding more of your own/current country. We have travelled the world, still do, but have recently begun a tour of England in 5 sections. Two completed, next three in 2018, mostly focusing on our Saxon and medieval history. Thanks for your post. 👍👫


    • I always look for history wherever we travel. Of course, travelling with an archaeologist literally means looking at history (and often prehistory). Enjoy your tour of England. When our son was little, he was castle-mad, so we saw quite a few!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Actually, it was your post that inspired me! Much of what I say in the post comes from internet resources, so not really a rune mistress, just an ex-librarian, ex-academic – impossible to suppress the urge to research. But, being a rune mistress might be an interesting occupation.

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  3. Reblogged this on Tales Of Mindful Travels and commented:
    A very interesting and unusual post from Debi about Runestones in Sweden, many exceptionally old. Not something we seem to have in England which made this post something we just had to reblog for our readers. Thanks Debi!


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