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The Scandinavian Runic-text Data Base (Swedish: Samnordisk runtextdatabas) is a project involving the creation and maintenance of a database of runic inscriptions. The project's goal is to comprehensively catalog runestones in a machine-readable way for future research. The database is freely available[1] via the Internet with a client program, called Rundata, for Microsoft Windows. For other operating systems, text files are provided or a web browser can be used to interact with the web application Runor.[1]


The origin of the Rundata project was a 1986 database of Swedish inscriptions at Uppsala University for use in the Scandinavian Languages Department.[2] At a seminar in 1990 it was proposed to expand the database to cover all Nordic runic inscriptions, but funding for the project was not available until a grant was received in 1992 from the Axel och Margaret Ax:son Johnsons foundation.[2] The project officially started on January 1, 1993 at Uppsala University. After 1997, the project was no longer funded and work continued on a voluntary basis outside of normal work-hours.[2] In the current edition, published on December 3, 2008, there are over 6500 inscriptions in the database.[2]

Work is currently underway for the next edition of the database.

Format of entries[edit]

Each entry includes the original text, its format, location, English and Swedish translations, information about the stone itself, et cetera. The stones are identified with a code which consists of up to three parts.

The first part describes the origin of the inscription. For Swedish inscriptions this contains a code for the province, and, for Extra-Nordic inscriptions, a code for the country (not ISO 3166).

Province code:

Country code:

The second part of the code consists of a serial number or a previous method of cataloging.

The third part of the code is a character which indicates the age (Proto-Norse, Viking Age, or Middle Ages) and whether the inscription is lost or retranslated.

  • # - inscription lost, later replaced with †
  • $ - newly retranslated
  • M - inscription from the Middle Ages
  • U - inscription in Proto-Norse, i.e. before ca 800.
  • [inscription from the Viking Age, if M or U are not present]

As such, U 88 would mean that the stone is from Uppland and that it is the 88th to be catalogued. This system has its origin in the book Sveriges runinskrifter (English: "Runic Inscriptions of Sweden")

Time periods used in Rundata[edit]

Most of the time, the Period/Datering information in Rundata just gives the date as V, meaning Viking Age, which is very broad. For some Danish inscriptions from Jacobsen & Moltke a more precise sub-period is given. The periods used are:

  • Helnæs-Gørlev — c. 800 (or 750 - c. 900)
  • för-Jelling (pre-Jelling) — c. 900
  • Jelling (Jelling) — 10th century and into the 11th century
  • efter-Jelling (post-Jelling) — c. 1000 – 1050
  • kristen efter-Jelling (Christian, post-Jelling) — 1st half of the 11th century

Many of the inscriptions in Rundata also include a field called Stilgruppering. This refers to date bands determined by the style of ornamentation on the stone as proposed by Gräslund:[3][4]

The date bands are:

  • RAK — c. 990-1010 AD
  • FP — c. 1010-1050 AD
  • Pr1 — c. 1010-1040 AD
  • Pr2 — c. 1020-1050 AD
  • Pr3 — c. 1050 - a generation forward (en generation framåt)
  • Pr4 — c. 1060-1100 AD
  • Pr5 — c. 1100-1130 AD

Original reference works[edit]

The catalog numbers refer to a variety of reference works and scholarly publications. Some of the more notable of these include:

  • Sveriges runinskrifter, various volumes.
  • Jacobsen, Lis; Moltke, Erik (1941–42). Danmarks Runeindskrifter. Copenhagen: Ejnar Munksgaards Forlag.

Other bibliography information is available inside the Rundata client program by pressing F4.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Ladda ned Samnordisk runtextdatabas
  2. ^ a b c d Jesch, Judith (2013). "Runic lexicography in context". Futhark: International Journal of Runic Studies. 4: 77–100.
  3. ^ Gräslund, Anne-Sofie (1991). "Runstenar – om ornamentik och datering". TOR. 23: 113–140. Archived from the original on 2021-02-09. Retrieved 2022-06-04.
  4. ^ Gräslund, Anne-Sofie (1992). "Runstenar – om ornamentik och datering". TOR. 24: 177–201.

External links[edit]