The Rune Stone
Interpretation And Controversy
Gert Heiberg followed Nils back to his farm hoping that what Mr. Eggum had found was something worth looking at. When Gert inspected the stone he quickly realized the importance of such a find, and he immediately sent a telegram to Haakon Shetelig, a respected archaeologist who had led the team that excavated the Oseberg ship in 1904 - 1905, inviting him to see the Rune Stone. Haakon, since his groundbreaking work on the Oseberg find, had become the curator and manager of the Historical and Antiquarian Department of the Bergen Museum.
Haakon came to Eggja as fast as his duties would allow. What he found at the farm site absolutely amazed him. The Rune Stone was a trapezoid in shape, and was approximately 1.6 meters long, and .71 meters wide. The runic inscription appeared to have about 190 runes carved upon it, the longest found written in the Elder Futhark, and there appeared to be the image of a horse engraved below the first line of runes.
The first conclusion that Shetelig came to was that the stone was the top of a small tomb. When he excavated below where the slab had been found he and his colleagues discovered an iron knife, badly corroded by the moist soil and time, a Viking fire - striker, and some iron pieces that he could not immediately deduce what they might have been. Haakon was certain that this was the grave of a male, probably who lived just before, or at, what was called the Viking Age.
Unfortunately Nils Eggums wheat field had grown to such proportions that the study had to be halted until after the harvest. When they returned to the site in the autumn the grave site had become compromised to the point where little more information could be learned from it.
The stone, now being referred to as the Eggja Rune Stone, was at first brought to, and studied at, the De Heibergske Samlinger - Sogn Folkemuseum, but was later transferred to the Bergen Museum, where Magnus Olsen, Professor of Old Norse language and Literature at the University of Oslo, began to decipher the meaning of it's runic inscription.
In 1919 Professor Olsen published his report on the Eggja Stone, which included his decipher of the inscription :
' The man poured the corpse - sea over this stone, and scraped with the cross pieces on the drill - weary sledge. Who of the host is come here to the land of men. The fish, fixed in it's determination swimming through the corpse - stream, the bird which cries when it tears into a corpse, and avenger born for Omarr. Never touched by the sun, and the stone was not cut by a knife. Never shall men lay bare, never shall sharp - eyed men or men to prone to hallucinations lay. '
Almost immediately some in the scientific community began to criticize the method in which he deciphered the runes on the Eggja Stone. The most vocal of which was a Danish runeologist named Lis Jacobsen. Her interpretation saw this as a memorial to a man " who died through an evil deed. "
After Jacobsen published her findings in 1931 the controversy became even greater, and others were called in, or arrived of their own accord, to examine the inscription,..... and it was then that Thor and Sif saw their opportunity to bring back the old religion to the Scandinavian peoples.
- End Chapter 4
- Next : " Let Us Return To The Site ! "
- Glenn Bergen, ( Ravensheart ), © Copyright, 2017.