Sunday, May 04, 2008

Runic Graffiti on The Ring of Brodgar, Orkney

Sixty stones once stood in The Ring of Brodgar. Each slab, nine or ten feet tall, was set about five degrees apart to form an almost perfect circle on the open moorland. This remarkable monument was created some time before the Pyramids. We don't know exactly why. It is a World Heritage Site, but this hasn't stopped people carving their names. The most interesting is 'Bjorn', a Viking with some time on his hands in the 12th century. Underneath his spindly runic writing, he scratched a cross. How remote these runes seem to us! And yet we are separated from Bjorn by just 800 years; he is separated from those who erected these stones by some four thousand years.

Note: Only the first three of five runes that make up the name are illustrated.

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