Reminder: CfP deadline RMMC Network meeting

Just a reminder that the deadline for abstracts for the upcoming Runes, Monuments and Memorial Carvings Network workshop in Glasgow is next Friday, 16 January. The theme for this year’s meeting is ‘Carved stones as objects of worship and symbols of power’. See the call for papers for more information.
Abstracts should be no more than 250 words. You can send them either to Elizabeth Pierce ( or Anouk Busset (
In order to keep everyone up-to-date with the latest research within the group, we plan on producing a newsletter in pdf format after the workshop so that you can catch up on what you missed.

Next RMMC meeting: Glasgow 13-16 April 2015

The third RMMC meeting will take place in Glasgow, 13-16 April 2015. The first two days are reserved for paper and poster presentations and the last two days you can join the fieldtrip to Angus and Perthshire, featuring stops to see the collections of stones in Meigle and St Vigeans.

The theme of this meeting is: Carved Stones as Objects of Worship and Symbols of Power

The deadline for the submission of abstracts is 16 January 2015, but you can help the organisers, Anouk Busset and Elizabeth Pierce, by informing them whether you intend to participate in the conference, conference dinner and possibly the fieldtrip by the end of October.

Please see the Call for Papers RMMC 2015 for more information and contact details.

The organisers have also provided information about Accommodation and Transport and Things to do in Glasgow.

We hope to see you all there!

Open Access publications

Some recent open access publications that will be of interest:

Thorgunn Snædal’s book about the runic inscriptions on the Pireus lion is available to download, or to buy of course: Runinskrifterna på Pireuslejonet i Venedig

Futhark 4

The fourth issue of Futhark: International Journal of Runic Studies is now published online. All articles are available free of charge at The whole volume can be downloaded at

Many of the RMMC network members now make their research available online. A wealth of articles, book chapters and research papers on memorial stones and (runic) inscriptions are for instance accessible through They can be found by browsing the profiles of some of the RMMC members:

Uppsala runforum

Uppsala runforum has an exhaustive collection of runological publications through the ages with open access.

Memorial finds and runic interpretations

Ignoring the fact that it is February already, this post offers a long overdue overview of the finds and interpretations of runic inscriptions and carved stone monuments that made the news last year.

To also serve some current news, there is of course is K. Jonas Norby’s breakthrough in cracking the Jötunvillur runic code. This news has been doing the rounds on the internet and especially last week also in the English-language press (who sometimes went a bit far in offering some additional interpretations…). The most comprehensive article is the Norwegian original, featuring interviews with Jonas Nordby, James Knirk and Henrik Williams, and this translation into English.

February also came with an article on Bryggen’s more sassy inscriptions.

This spring and summer yielded the (re)discovery of several stone monuments: an 12th-century decorated grave stone in Ærø; the Medieval Sillian 3 stone from Wales with a cross and lozenge pattern; the 11th-century runestone in Södra Roslagen with the oldest evidence for the place-name Ekerö; and of course the stone at Orphir, Orkney, with a latin runic inscription.


This is a brief overview of a number of volumes dealing with runes, medieval memorial carvings and stone sculpture that have been published over the past months.

Readers’ comments and reviews are welcome, as are announcements about new publications that are of interest to scholars of runes, monuments and memorial carvings.

Situne Dei 2013

Contains a number of contributions about runestones, by Anne-Sofie Gräslund,Magnus Källström, Helmer Gustavson and Roger Wikell.

More information, table of contents and downloads

Raising the Dead: Early Medieval Name Stones in Northumbria

By C. Maddern

This is the first work to explore and explain the form, function and theological meaning of Northumbrian name stones, both in their immediate Insular setting and within a wider European context.

This is the first work to explore and explain the form, function, and theological meaning of Northumbrian name stones, both in their immediate Insular setting and within a wider European context. Earlier studies have concentrated on the archaeological and epigraphic aspects of these monuments, which has resulted in a tentative dating framework but also a blanket designation of ‘gravestones’. This book challenges the assumptions behind this designation and focuses on the iconography of name stones as a reflection of theological ideas of the period, based on a central hypothesis that many emulate the format of manuscript pages.

The author also addresses the contentious question of the placing of name stones, in particular whether some stones were actually placed in the grave. Her analysis presents not only evidence of differential burial practices within the same Northumbrian cemeteries, but offers parallel examples from other monastic sites in both Britain and the Continent — and significantly broadens the field of argument about early medieval burial practices. In this book, the author combines approaches from ecclesiastical history and iconography, theology, and archaeology to draw out the significance of the Northumbrian name stones and to explore the ‘living’ presence of the dead in early medieval religious communities.

More information and table of contents

Sacred Sites and Holy Places: Exploring the Sacralization of Landscape through Time and Space

Edited by S.W. Nordeide and S. Brink

In this volume two important veins of interdisciplinary research into the medieval period in Scandinavia and the Baltic region are merged, namely the Christianization process and landscape studies. The volume authors approach the common theme of sacrality in landscape from such various viewpoints as archaeology, philology, history of religion, theology, history, classical studies, and art history. A common theme in all articles is a theoretical approach, complemented by illustrative case studies from the Scandinavian, Baltic, or Classical worlds. Aspects of pagan religion, as well as Christianity and the establishment of the early Church, are considered within both geographical setting and social landscape, while the study of maps, place names, and settlement patterns introduces new methodologies and perspectives to expose and define the sacral landscape of these regions. The contributions are put into perspective by a comparison with research into the sacral landscapes of Central Europe and the Classical world.

New interdisciplinary research methods and new models have been developed by the contributors to present new vistas of sacrality in the Scandinavian and the Baltic landscape. To open up these case studies, a selection of over sixty images and maps accompanies this cutting-edge research, allowing the reader to explore sacralization and the Christianization process within its medieval setting.

More information and table of contents

Schreibpraktiken und Schriftwissen in südgermanischen Runeninschriften: Zur Funktionalität epigraphischer Schriftverwendung

By Michelle Waldispühl

Südgermanische Runeninschriften befinden sich auf mobilen Gegenständen wie Fibeln oder Waffen und datieren vorwiegend aus dem 6. Jahrhundert. Unter den Inschriften gibt es auffällig viele ohne sprachliche Botschaft: die Runenschrift wurde lediglich imitiert. Welche Botschaft sollte mit ihnen vermittelt werden? Wie sind sie im damaligen Schriftverständnis zu verorten?

Die vorliegende Studie beleuchtet die Funktionalität runenepigraphischer Schrift im Kontext sozialen Handelns, insbesondere im Zusammenhang mit den Trägerobjekten, unter Berücksichtigung der Techniken der Schriftanbringung, der visuellen Ausprägung von Schrift und interaktiv-­kommunikativer Bedingungen.

Es zeigt sich, dass das sprachliche wie auch das visuelle Potential von «Schrift» in der südgermanischen Runen­kultur selten isoliert vom Trägerobjekt funktioniert, weshalb Inschriften ohne sprachliche Botschaft in Teilen genauso aussagekräftig sein konnten wie solche mit.

Diese mit umfassendem Bildteil versehene Arbeit bietet zusätzlich eine Systematisierung der runologischen Methodik zur schreibtechnischen, graphematischen und kontex­tuellen Untersuchung der Inschriften.

More information and table of contents

Epigraphic Literacy and Christian Identity: Modes of Written Discourse in the Newly Christian European North

Edited by K. Zilmer and J. Jesch

This collection of nine essays deals with the role of epigraphic literacy within the newly introduced Christian culture and the developing tradition of literacy in Northern Europe.

This volume examines the role of epigraphic literacy within the newly introduced Christian culture and the developing tradition of literacy in Northern Europe during the Viking Age and the High Middle Ages. The epigraphic material under scrutiny here originates from Scandinavia and North-West Russia – two regions that were converted to Christianity around the turn of the first millennium. Besides traditional categories of epigraphic sources, such as monumental inscriptions on durable materials, the volume is concerned with more casual inscriptions on less permanent materials. The first part of the book discusses a form of monumental epigraphic literacy manifested on Scandinavian rune stones, with a particular focus on their Christian connections. The second part examines exchanges between Christian culture and ephemeral products of epigraphic literacy, as expressed through Scandinavian rune sticks, East Slavonic birchbark documents and church graffiti. The essays look beyond the traditional sphere of parchment literacy and the Christian discourse of manuscript sources in order to explore the role of epigraphic literacy in the written vernacular cultures of Scandinavia and North-West Russia.

More information and table of contents

Futhark 3

Was already available online, and now also as printed volume.

Order printed copies of Futhark and Scripta Islandica

Dowload Furthark articles as pdf

Memories in the Making

On his blog, Howard Williams offers a sneak preview of a volume about early medieval inscribed and sculpted stone monuments that Meggen Gondek, Joanne Kirton and he are currently preparing.


Across the North Sea: North Sea Connections from AD 400 into the Viking Age Second Interdisciplinary Symposium on Runes and Related topics in Frisia

The topic of the second Interdisciplinary Symposium on Runes and Related topics in Frisia is ‘Across the North Sea: North Sea Connections from AD 400 into the Viking Age’.

The conference takes place place 5-8 June 2014 in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, and will be of interest and importance across the fields of Early Medieval/Late Antique archaeology, history, language, and runology.

Papers are invited on subjects on Anglo-Saxon – Frisian – Frankish relations.The deadline for proposals is 1 January  2014 and the deadline for registration 20 January 2014.

The conference is organised by John Hines, Nelleke IJssenagger, Tim Pestell, Tineke Looijenga, Gaby Waxenberger, Kerstin Kazazzi and Han Nijdam.

See the call for papers for more information.

See our Events page for an overview of upcoming events.

Pictish Studies at the University of Glasgow in honour of Dr Isabel Henderson

Glasgow University’s Centre for Scottish and Celtic Studies—Ionad Eòlas na h-Alba is na Ceiltis—warmly invites you to attend a day conference celebrating:

Pictish Studies at the University of Glasgow in honour of Dr Isabel Henderson on the occasion of her 80th Birthday

Friday 7 June 2013  10.15am – 5.30pm

Boyd Orr Building (Lecture theatre 222) University Avenue, University of Glasgow, G12 8QQ

Featuring current staff and post-graduate students: Adrian Maldonado, Dauvit Broun, Ewan Campbell, Guto Rhys, Katherine Forsyth, Simon Taylor, Cynthia Thickpenny, Stephen Driscoll, Thomas Clancy

Registration is free but booking is essential for catering arrangements

Register on-line:

Further details from:  Michelle Nicholl, School of Humanities

michelle.nichol(a)   Tel: 0141-330-5690
or from the Centre for Scottish and Celtic Studies web-site

To commemorate the occasion, you are invited to contribution to a fund in Dr Henderson’s name to support students and younger scholars in Pictish Studies and related fields to participate in the XVth International Congress of Celtic Studies, Glasgow 2015.

Donations may be made on the day (cash or cheques to ‘Glasgow University Trust’) or via the Development and Alumni Office (Attn. Bicola Barratt-Crane), University of Glasgow, 3 The Square, Glasgow, G12 8QQ. Please complete a copy of the attached donation form which will enable us to benefit from Gift Aid.


Podcast from Workshop Keynote Lecture

As many of you will already know the keynote lecture from the recent Chester Workshop, delivered by Prof. Howard Williams, was filmed by the University of Chester’s Learning and Information Services who have kindly turned the event into a podcast. In his lecture Prof. Williams discussed the workshop theme ‘audience’ from a number of angles, including his recent fieldwork conducted at the Pillar of Eliseg in north east Wales.


The keynote lecture was hosted at the historic St John the Baptist Church, which houses a considerable collection of Viking period sculpture.

Below you can view the recorded lecture and accompanying presentation by clicking on ‘Keynote Lecture’.

‘Captivating and Captive Audiences’ by Professor Howard Williams: Keynote Lecture