Typical of its time
A runologist also visited the site, to interpret the text on the runestone. It says:
Gerðarr ræisþi stæin þannsi at Sigdiarf, faður sin, bōanda Øygærðaʀ.
“Gärdar erected this stone to the memory of Sigdjärv, his father, Ögärd’s husband.”
Veronica Palm says that this runestone is fairly typical of its time. The inscription states that a son erected the stone to the memory of his dead father, but the female name Ögärd has not been confirmed anywhere else. The stone also has a runic animal, a snake biting its tail, and a cross that allows the stone to be dated to the period between 1030 and 1050.
“It fits with its time. Christianity arrived around then, and it was important for people in the higher social classes to somehow demonstrate that they were Christians. It was a status marker,” she says.
The first new runestone for a decade
Veronica Palm says that finding new runestones is unusual. The ones now found are often previously known stones that have been discovered and registered, before disappearing and then being rediscovered centuries later. The last time an unknown runestone was found was ten years ago.
“This find is important, for both archaeological research and linguistic research. It’s the discovery of the year, to say the least. It is particularly important for local research and adds an extra dimension to this site, which was apparently of special significance in the local area. This provides additional confirmation of what we suspected about this location,” says Veronica Palm.
Her aim is to conduct a dig at the site where the stone was found. In her licentiate thesis she is writing about the area’s iron age landscape and hopes to include Hellrö in her project.
What will happen to the runestone now?
“We are going to have a meeting with a conservator, as the stone has cracks that must be stabilised. Then we hope to be able to display it at the farm so the public can see it. Our ambition is for it to be accessible and to stand where it belongs.”