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Three Controversial Runes in the Older Futhark
by Harry Andersen
Sociological Absrt. Inc., 1995.

Unavailable for preview, the abstract for it is as follows: "The presence of two essentially redundant runes in the twenty-four rune system, divided into three groups of eight, is examined. Reasons why a twenty-four rune system was disirable are considered. An Appendix provides information concerning the importance of the notion oett 'family' or 'group of eight.'"

A Concise Grammar of the Older Runic Inscriptions
by E.H. Antonsen
Tubingen, 1975.

A complete catalogue of almost every Elder futhark runic inscription found, each with a transliteration and complete translation. Also has chapters on phonology, orthography and grammar. An invaluable resource.

Old English Runes and their Continental Background
edited by Alfred Bammesberger
Carl Winter, Heidelberg, Germany, 1991

This voluminous book gathers papers read and discussed during a symposium at the University of Eichstaett, Germany, in 1989. It covers a wide range of linguistic, archaeological and mythological aspects and thus gives a good presentation of runology's recent state of research. It is not mainly about the Anglo-Saxon runes (as the title might suggest) but as well about Continental and Scandinavian material. It contains 25 contributions, 21 of them written in English and four in German.

The Kensington Rune Stone: New Light on an Old Riddle
by Theodore C. Blegen
St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society, 1968.

Another book by an American scholar about runes being found in North America. This book focuses on the most famous instance, the Kensington Rune Stone. This book only discusses the controversy surrounding the discovery and later authentication of the runestone; it does not take a position one way or the other. Specifically, it focuses on all of the events from 1898, the year of the discovery, to 1915 and then into the sixties.

An extensive bibliography compiled by Michael Brook is also included in this book that is entitled 'Printed Works on the Kensington Stone and its Background.' It has several major headings, which include Linguistic and Runic Background, Books and Pamphlets, Periodical Articles, and Contributions to Newspapers. Almost all the references are to German and Scandavian sources.

Dan Smith's Fantasy Fonts for Windows
maintained by Dan Smith

Free collections of Tolkien-inspired and Historical Rune fonts for Windows. With links to other Runic font and Internet resources.

Runic and Heroic Poems of the Old Teutonic Peoples
by Bruce Dickins
Cambridge, 1915.

One of the original translations of the Icelandic, Norwegian and Anglo-Saxon rune poems, which constitute our principal sources of information on the interpretations of the rune names.

The Alphabetic Labyrinth
by JoHanna Drucker
New York: Thames and Hudson Ltd., 1995.

While focused more on the history of alphabets in general, this is an excellent resource for placing runes into the larger context of language. Provides many pictures, charts and graphs. Only a few pages are devoted strictly to runes, but numerous references to them crop up in discussions throughout the book. The book has an extensive index.

Runes: An Introduction
by Ralph W. V. Elliot
New York: Philosophic Library, Inc., 1959.

Noted as an excellent source from several Usenet discussion groups for historical context and linguistic value for runes. There is a very good chapter on the uses of runes which describes how they were used as both mystic symbols and an alphabet, and how the two distinct functions gradually came together over time. The book is broken down into parts: the origin of runes, the Germanic runes, the Scandavian runes, the English runes, inscriptions, and uses of runes. Elliott balances the magical and the mundane quite beautifully without compromising his solid academic stand.

Runes and Magic. Magical Formulaic Elements in the Elder Runic Tradition
by Stephen E. Flowers
Peter Lang, New York, U.S.A., 1986

Some scholars have downplayed or even denied the historical importance of rune magic. Here is the answer. Referring to some recent semiotic theories of magic the book tries to prove that the rune magicians were part of a special social structure, a network that pre-existed the introduction of the runes (as it was earlier suggested by the German scholar Otto Hoefler). Since none of the elder runic inscriptions is completely free of interpretative difficulty a great part of attention is given to the runic corpus itself, to its formal interpretation, analysis, classification and especially to the runic formulas. This is an excellent work on a high academic level which clearly sets a standard. And besides it is the doctoral dissertation of the man who should become known as Edred Thorsson.

The Secret of the Runes
by Guido von List (trans. with commentary by Stephen Flowers)
Destiny Books, Rochester, Vermont 1988

The contraversial classic of the German 'Armanen' runic tradition. A somewhat bizarre little book, it is nonetheless important from a historical point of view.

The Occult Roots of Nazism: The Ariosophists of Austria and Germany 1890-1935
by Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke

A fascinating history of the magical, religious and philosophical movements of the turn of the century that profoundly influenced the National Socialists. While not dealing with runes exclusively, it does describe the lives and works of many runic magicians such as Guido von List and Friedrich Marby whose influence can still be found in the writings of Edred Thorsson and others.

The Kensington Rune-Stone is Genuine. Linguistic, Practical, Methodological Considerations
by Robert A. Hall
Hornbeam Press, Columbia, SC, U.S.A., 1982

Another well-written book on the notorious subject by a scholar of Linguistics which doesn't require further annotation: the title says it all.

The Word Made Flesh
by Tod Harris
Parabola, Fall 1995 v20 n3 p16

A short overview of the origins of language, specifically of runes. Discusses the mythological origination of Odin's discovery of runes as well as cultural origins. Provides an excellent context for the functionality of runes as an alaphabet as well as bearers of discrete concepts. The article does not go into any depth on the history of runes, but rather focuses on the larger issues of how runes and ultimately alphabets shape the way we perceive our world.

The Recasting of a Symbolic Value. Three Case Studies on Rune-Stones
by Frands Herschend
Societas Archaeologica Upsaliensis, Uppsala, Sweden, 1993

The book examines the changes and differences in the attitudes of those who erected the rune-stones in the Maelar Valley, Sweden, from the end of the 10th to the beginning of the 12th century. It is focused on the correlation between the change in textual expression and zoomorphic style. The prayers, a new vogue in the rune-stone tradition, are analysed as a reflection of a revival during a part of the Christian mission. It shows how in the course of transition from late prehistoric to early medieval society the role of the outstanding individual changed, as well as the meaning and the role of the collective. The book does not mainly concentrate on the runes but on an aspect of societal change in the late Viking age as it is reveiled by some runic inscriptions. Since it is restricted to a very special and limited subject it should be recommended only to people with a serious interest.

Westward from Vinland
by Hjalmar R. Holand
New York: Duell, Sloan & Pearce, 1940.

The book is subtitled 'An Account of Norse Discoveries and Explorations in America.' It chronicles the evidence of Viking penetration into North America in Pre-Columbian years. It holds the Kensington Rune Stone as evidence that not only did Vikings land in North America, but in fact went into the interior. The first section deals with Leif Erikson and other adventurers' first discoveries of the western hemisphere, while the second and third sections deal specifically with the Kensington Rune Stone. It gives the history of the discovery of the stone, the linguistic aspects of the inscription, the runic notations and gothic letters, and runic symbols. It provides detailed hand-lettered maps of the discovery site in Minnesota as well as the stone and its inscriptions.

The Poetic Edda
Translated by Lee M. Hollander
U. of Texas Press, 1986

This book of translated poetry from the Teutonic race is considered by some to be essential background reading to the study of runes. Hollander is a scholar in the field, and the above symposium was dedicated in his honor. Hollander says in the introduction that the Poetic Edda "is a repository, in poetic form, of their [the Teutonic race] mythology and much of their heroic lore, bodying forth both the ethical views and the cultural life of the North during late heathen and early Christian times."

Runes in Sweden
by Sven B.F. Jansson
Gidlunds, Stockholm, Sweden, 1987

Sweden has by far the highest amount of runic inscriptions, in all about 3500. This book, written by one of Swedens leading runologists, offers a survey of the most important runic material. Jansson presents and translates the inscriptions and gives careful comments on their historical backgrounds without becoming too scholarly at any point. Most of the beautifully designed rune-stones still can be found in their original sites and have become a natural element of the Swedish landscape. This is documented by a unique wealth of high-quality color photographs by Bengt A. Lundberg. They make this book an outstanding pleasure to look at.

Proceedings of the Third International Symposium on Runes and Runic Inscriptions
edited by James E. Knirk
Institutionen foer Nordiska Sprak, Uppsale, Sweden, 1994

The Symposium took place in Grindaheim, Norway, in august 1990, and this volume covers the usual widespread table of subjects that is typical for such kind of events. It contains 18 contributions, 10 of them in English, 4 in Norwegian and 4 in German.

Ancient Norse Messages on American Stones
by Ole Godfred Landsverk
Glendale: Norseman Press, 1969.

This is one of several books written in the late 1960s that discusses the validity of runestones found in North America. It seems that the traditional academics of the Scandavian variety state flately that runes in North America are fakes, while many American academics in cryptology, linguistics and runology claim they are valid examples of early Norse civilization on the continent. This particular book emphasizes that dates written in the runic inscriptions were hidden in the form of complex puzzles by clergymen as a form of entertainment or jest.

Runic Records of the Norsemen in America
by Ole G. Landsverk
Erik J. Friis, U.S.A., 1974

This book basically deals with the same theories and subjects that the author developed together with Alf Monge in "Norse Medieval Cryptography ..." It suggests that there has been more than only one expedition of Norsemen to North America, who left their runic marks all over large areas east of the Rockies. It is too well-written to dismiss it as pure fantasy right away. But the book's problem is that every solitary rune-like symbol is regarded as a virtual proof and that the authenticity of all runic inscriptions from North America is taken for granted. Whoever wants to believe this will become happy with the book.

Frisian Runes and Neighbouring Traditions
edited by Tineke Looijenga
Rodopi, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 1996

One should expect that the runes were brought to England by the Anglo-Saxon invaders but the matchings with the almost identical Frisian Runes are too obvious. That's why the Old English futhorc is called Anglo-Frisian (and not Anglo-Saxon!). This volume contains the collected proceedings of the First International Symposium on Frisian Runes, held at Leeuwarden, The Netherlands, in 1994. Some articles deal with the complicated question of Anglo-Frisian relationship, others are about archeological data from Frisia, still others are on the new controversy concerning the origin of the runes. This book definitely has been a desideratum since there was no monograph on the subject yet. It contains 16 contributions, 11 of them in English, four in German and one in Danish.

The Language of the Oldest Runic Inscriptions. A Linguistic and Historical-Philological Analysis
by Enver A. Makaev
Almquist & Wiksell International, Stockholm, Sweden, 1996

Makaev is known for some excellent works on Germanic linguistics which never reached the broad readership they deserved because they had appeared only in Russian. This translation is a first step to improve this. Originally published in 1965 this book starts with a critical analysis of runological studies, calling for the application of a stricter methodology, followed by chapters devoted to the language of the oldest inscriptions, to the orthographic fit of the writing system, to the significance of onomastic evidence and to word structure. The second part gives the data and this makes it a good source: there is a complete corpus of the early inscriptions and bracteates, lists of runic names and of attested grammatical forms and finally a helpful glossary.

Runes and their Origin. Denmark and Elsewhere
by Erik Moltke
Nationalmuseets forlag (The National Museum of Denmark), Copenhagen, Denmark, 1985

When Moltke died in 1984 he had become by far Denmark's most prominent runologist and this totally comprehensive work proves his status to be only fair and valid. Although he always was known for having his very own theories, his entertaining style of writing really makes up for that. Most of the Danish runic material is presented here, not only transcribed and translated but it comes along with a lot of good b/w photographs and there's hardly any aspect left unmentioned. An excellent and highly recommendable book.

Norse Medieval Cryptography in Runic Carvings
by Alf Monge & Ole G. Landsverk
Norseman Press, Glendale, Calif., U.S.A., 1967

In 1963 Alf Monge claimed to have discovered secretly dated cryptograms within medieval runic inscriptions which were calendrically indicated. By applying this theory on the finds from American soil the authors state, that those can not be modern hoaxes simply because no one had known of the existence of these Norse dated puzzles for well over 500 years. The book furthermore deals with the inscriptions from Kensington (of course!) and Heavener, the New England cryptograms, the acrostics in the legend of the Vinland map and the testing of artifacts of possible 14th century origin in Minnesota. The authors bring forth some quick-witted arguments on this controversial matter. Food for thought.

Runic and Mediterranean Epigraphy
by Richard L. Morris
Odense University Press, Odense, Denmark, 1988

A few decades back it was generally thought that the problems of runic origins were largely solved. Most scholars seemed to agree on the origin from a North-Italian alphabet. But opinion is now once more divided and the old controversy again wide open especially because the problem today appears decidedly more complicated than it used to. This exciting book really stirs up the question again. Morris follows the "Greek" theory which obviously has been dismissed too early. The point is, however, that he doesn't refer to the classical but to the preclassical Greek alphabet which was abandoned after the Milesian writing reform in 403 B.C. He suggests that it was brought to the north by merchants and amber traders from the Mediterranean area which is not unlikely. The stunning result is that the runes might be created as early as about 500 B.C. Even if one rejects this sensational theory it must be admitted that this is an electrifying, knowledgeable and well-argued book which should deserve a more detailed treatment than it can be given in this place.

Mystery of the Futhark Alphabet
maintained by Turgay Kurum

The author of this website claims to have linked the Germanic futhark with the Turkish 'Goturk' alphabet. Interesting ideas.

The Kensington Runestone Vindicated
by Rolf M. Nilsestuen
University Press of America, Lanham, Md., U.S.A., 1994

"In this monograph, Nilsestuen summarizes the evidence covering the period from 1898 until the present, thus sparing interested persons the time and trouble of assembling references from the distant libraries. He defends the authenticity of the Runestone, and the integrity of Hjalmar Holand and Olof Ohman, with an impassioned but well-reasoned analysis of the information now available. Finally he accomplishes something that has been needed doing for 35 years - a thorough exposure of the web of deceit what permeates Wahlgren's book, and that has fooled so many people into believing the Runestone is a fake. Throughout, he brings to this matter a liberal dose of down-to-earth common sense that has been woefully lacking in the arguments of the critics. The burden of proof now rests with the negators, as it has since 1932, to refute the large body of evidence that proves the inscription is genuine, and to show how, and by whom, it could have been forged." (Taken from the foreword by Rober A. Hall).

The Runic Inscriptions of Oland
by Bruce E. Nilsson
University Microfilms, Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A., 1974

Oland is an island in the Baltic Sea close to the southeast coast of Sweden. Because of its isolated situation it can be seen as a model case, both under runic and linguistic points of view. Most of the material comes from the period between 1030 and 1130. This PhD thesis is a scholarly survey of the inscriptions. (Information on aquiring this microfilm should be obtainable from XEROX University Microfilms, 300 North Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48106).

On the Origin and Early History of the Runic Script. Typology and Graphic Variation in the Older Futhark
by Bengt Odenstedt
Almquist & Wiksell International, Stockholm, Sweden, 1990

Although the forms of runes in the Older Futhark have often been discussed in runological handbooks and elsewhere no systematic investigation of runic forms in the corpus has been made so far. This book finally fills that gap. It carefully goes through all the variants that occurred and tries to conclude their original forms. This is resulting in the thesis that that the runes were brought to the Continent from Scandinavia (and not vice versa!) and that it was the Roman alphabet that served as a model. Odenstedt claims that the Latin script was brought to the north by Scandinavian warriors who had served in the Roman Army which is not impossible, of course, although the onomastic evidence we have from the times before the Migration Age doesn't make this too likely. So one may disagree on this opinion but this well-written book has some strong arguments which shouldn't be dismissed too early. And it's a valuable source of the Older Futhark's runic forms.


OLDNORSENET is an electronic mailing list. The following is a description of it from the maintainers of the list: ". . .[OLDNORSENET] provides a forum for discussion of problems that concern the medieval Scandinavian and North Atlantic societies. The network will be open for contributions from researchers in all branches of medieval studies concerning the Nordic area. Our hope is to start a lively and open discussion of new and old problems within the subject, and that ideas and suggestions will be presented and discussed by the members of the network. There are now more than 330 subscribers to this discussion list from all over the world, The Nordic countries, North America, South Africa, Japan and others."

The owner of the network is the Forum foer fornnordisk forskning, (Center for Old Norse Studies) at Gothenburg University. The administrator of the network is Karl Gunnar Johansson.

New subscribers will have to write to:
with the single line in the letter body:
subscribe oldnorsenet your_first_name your_last_name

Then in future correspondence with the members, you would address your letters to:

An examination of the archived messages revealed several discussions in the past month about runes. Current issues being discussed include translations of ancient Nordic texts, Viking culture, and further information sources.

An Introduction to English Runes
by R.I. Page
Methuen & Co. Ltd., London, 1973.

A somewhat more thorough examination of the runes by Page, focusing on those found in England but covering all the bases. Page is known as a bit of a stick-in-the-mud when it comes to the more mystical aspects of the runes, refusing to acknowledge their historical importance as tools for magic and divination. He seems to consider R.W.V. Elliott a bit of a romantic. Nevertheless, this is an excellent, pragmatic introductory text.

Reading the Past: Runes
by R.I. Page
University of California Press: 1987.

This is an introductory guide to linguistic side of runology. It focuses on the origins of runes in terms of its relationship to the Germanic language family. It contains a number of high-quailty drawings and pictures of runes. The areas of concentration in the book are The Script and its Problems; Rune-Names and Futharks; The Early Inscriptions; Anglo-Saxon Runes; Runes and the Vikings; Scandavian Runes in the British Isles; and Runes in North America. The entire book is only 60 pages long, however, and the index is somewhat weak.

Page notes at the end of the book that there are few sources for the study of runes written in English:

"Of making many books on runes there is no end, but most of them are in German or one of the Scandavian languages. . .The Scandavian countries have taken their runes seriously, and have published, or are in the process of publishing, complete corpora of runic monuments."

Runes and Runic Inscriptions. Collected Essays on Anglo-Saxon and Viking Runes
by Raymond I. Page
Boydell & Brewer, Woodbridge, United Kingdom, 1995

Previously released between 1958 and 1990 some of these essays are on very specific aspects of finds in England, on problems of transliteration and linguistics. This is not an easy introduction (as the title might suggest!) The author's scholarship takes a reader with serious interest and more than just some basic knowledge.

Egil's Saga
trans. by Hermann Palsson & Paul Edwards
Penguin, New York, 1976

A history of a runecaster, Egil, in Iceland, and some of the cast spells

Old Norse Literature and Mythology: A Symposium
edited by Edgar C. Polome

This book is a publication of papers submitted to a symposium at the University of Texas at Austin in 1969. The topics included are Germanic and Scandinavian translations of runic and Old English poetry. While not dealing specifically with runes, the essays are about the time period and are good background study.

maintained by James E. Knirk

Website announcing new developments and discoveries in academic runology. Articles mostly in Swedish, but also English, Norwegian and German

Runes of Futhark

Contains three to four paragraphs on each of the Futhark runes, as well as a table for each that has spelling characteristics in Old English, Old Norse, and several other early Germanic languages, as well as any differing definitions between the languages. Very nicely laid out.

Runestone: Heavener, Oklahoma

This is an article published about a rune stone found on Poteau Mountain near the small town of Heavener, Oklahoma, near the Arkansas line. The article says,". . .there stands a slab of stone which is 12 feet tall, 10 feet wide, and 16 inches thick, like a billboard. There is writing on this billboard, consisting of 8 deeply pecked letters, whose edges have eroded to smoothness. . ." There are several good pictures of the stone, and a translation of the runic inscription. Another rune-related site on the Internet that had a link to it had this warning about it, though: "Note: There is a major 'Spot the Viking' industry going in North America, and the Heavener runestone may just be an example of 'wishful thinking.'"


This site has the full text, translation, drawings of inscriptions, and color photos of rune stones, as well as maps and numbers of the distribution of rune stones found all over the world. It also has a description of the Futhark, but it is not as comprehensive as other sources or as well done as the other areas of this site.

RuneType - The Project

One of the most referenced Web sites on runes. It is a project in Norway to computerize Runic inscriptions at the Historic Museum in Bergen. Its aim is to "develop a transliteration system that is wholly dependent on a symbol's graphic form with no presumptions of phonetic value." The results of the project are posted, but are in Norwegian. An English version will appear soon.

Recently there has been major changes to the site. It is now possible to do a search in a rune database for information on rune stones. The database is searchable by description, rune number, and translation. The project leader, Espen S. Ore, may be contacted at The head runologist is Anne Haavaldsen, and she may be contacted at

Handbook of the Old-Northern Runic Monuments of Scandinavia and England
by George Stephens
Llanerch Publishers, Felinfach, United Kingdom, 1993

Originally published in 1884 this reprint includes all the illustrations from the larger three-volume work, but with shorter texts. As such, it provides a useful pictorial overview of the runic inscriptions of Scandinavia and England. Some of Stephens' emendations of worn or damaged characters are controversial, of course. The book proves that for archeological purposes a good drawing can be superior to any photograph. Not quite up to date, but still a good source book.

Viewpoints - American Epigraphics
maintained by Rick Smith

A defence of the existance of Old world scripts (including Norse) in North America. Includes images of alleged inscriptions in Oregon.

The Viking Homepage

This is a light-hearted site with numerous links to Viking culture such as musuem exhibits and Viking religions. There are several links to color photographs of famous rune stones.

Viking Navy

The Viking Navy is an organization of do-it-yourselfer Viking ship builders. While it makes for interesting reading, the majority of this site is not focused on runes. There is a section, however, on runes that is not duplicated elsewhere. It is scanned newspaper clippings and drawings of four major rune stones: Kensington Rune Stone, Spirit Pond Rune Stone, Roseau Rune Stone, and the Heavener, Oklahoma rune stone.

The Kensington Stone. A Mystery Solved
by Erik Wahlgren
University of Kansas Press, Madison, Kan., U.S.A., 1958

Among the opponents of the stone's authenticity Wahlgren was not only the most vehement but also the most influential one. While numerous scholars have made statements criticizing this word or that rune in the inscription, Wahlgren attempts to attack and destroy the entire body of evidence, claiming that all witnesses were shameless liars. Right or wrong, at least his methodology is sometimes weak, because he employs a battery of tricks that are highly effective in persuading people who are not well-informed about the subject that the inscription is a forgery. From today's point of view a lot of his arguments are not based on evidence, but on misinformation and unfounded suspicion. For good answers to Wahlgren check the books of Robert A. Hall and Rolf M. Nilsestuen.

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