The Setre Comb, listed as N KJ40 in the Rundata catalog, was discovered in an ancient refuse heap in 1932 in Setre, which is near Brevik, Norway, and is currently in the collection of the Bergen Museum. The comb is made of bone and its inscription features a mixture of Elder Futhark and Younger Futhark characters. The inscription has three rows of text, but it is unclear as to the direction it is to be read, or if all rows are to be read in the same direction. The comb is the subject of an amount of scholarly discourse as most experts accept the reading of the Germanic charm word alu and Nanna, though there exists questions as to if the Nanna mentioned is the same figure as the goddess from later attestations.
The inscription reads:
- hAl mAz ¶ mA unA ¶ Alu naA| |Alu nanA
One suggested transcription into Old Norse goes:[by whom?]
- Hôll mær ma una, ôllu naa, ôllu nenna.
the corresponding English translation goes "Leaning maiden may repose, attain everything, be pleased with everything." However, this ignores the reading of the charm word alu. Several other translations have been proposed. None of the proposed interpretations has been generally accepted to date.
References and notes
- Barnes, Michael P. (1998). "The Transitional Inscriptions". In Beck, Heinrich; Düwel, Klaus; et al. Runeninschriften als Quellen Interdisziplinärer Forschung: Abhandlungen des Forschung. Walter de Gruyter. pp. 448–461. ISBN 3-11-015455-2. pp. 455-456.
- Macleod, Mindy; Mees, Bernard (2006). Runic Amulets and Magic Objects. Boydell Press. pp. 23–24. ISBN 1-84383-205-4.
- Project Samnordisk Runtextdatabas Svensk - Rundata entry for N KJ40.
- The Kieler RunenProjekt lists nine interpretations of the inscription.
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