A huge 9th-century stone monument in Sweden may have been erected by Vikings who feared a repeat of a cold climate crisis that occurred more than 300 years earlier, according to a new study.
The Rok rune is a 5-ton granite slab over 2.5 meters high. With 28 lines, it has the oldest runic inscription in stone, with messages similar to puzzles that allude to Nordic mythology covering its sides. And despite their age, the 700+ runes and other characters are still clearly readable except for a damaged line.
While scholars generally agree on how to read the inscriptions, the exact meaning of the runic characters and enigmatic passages has been elusive – until now.
AN new interdisciplinary study Swedish university scholars have concluded that the application is about anxiety over the death of a child and fears of a new cold climate crisis.
Cold Climate Crisis
The study was based on archaeological research on a cold weather catastrophe from the years 536 to 550, which affected Scandinavia. The crisis occurred after a series of volcanic events and led to lower average temperatures, crop failures, famine and mass extinction. It is also estimated that the population of the Scandinavian Peninsula has fallen by 50% or more.
"The key to unlocking the inscription was the interdisciplinary approach. Without these collaborations between textual analysis, archeology, religious history and runology, it would be impossible to solve the Rok track puzzles," said Per Holmberg, professor of Swedish at The University of Gothenburg, who led the study, said in a press release.
Coming from Ragnarok
The region's socioeconomic situation had recovered at the time of the Rok stone carving, but the collective memory of the extreme cold weather event probably passed through the generations, according to the study.
Scholars also considered three other extraordinary events.
"Before Rok's runic stone was assembled, several events occurred that must have seemed extremely threatening," said Bo Graslund, professor of archeology at Uppsala University, one of the authors of the article. "A powerful solar storm colored the sky in dramatic shades of red, crop yields suffered an extremely cold summer, and later a solar eclipse occurred just after sunrise."
"Even one of these events would be enough to arouse the fear of another & # 39; Fimbulwinter & # 39;" he said, referring to "The Great Winter" in Norse mythology, which would mark the arrival of Ragnarok – a series of events that lead to the end of civilization.