Ancient Spindle with Runes Discovered in Reykjavík

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Ancient Spindle with Runes Discovered in Reykjavík

A fracture of a spindle with a runic inscription was discovered in an archeological excavation near the Althingi parliament building in Reykjavík last week. It is believed to date back to the 11th century and may be the oldest runic inscription in Iceland.

Archeologist Vala Gardarsdóttir, who is in control of the excavation, told Fréttabladid that the discovery is of great significance. “What makes it so special is that it is the only runic inscription from that time that has been found in Iceland.”

“This find could tell us a lot about the development of runes in Iceland because it can prove to be an important piece of the puzzle. One could even say that we’ve discovered the missing link,” Gardarsdóttir said.

Thórgunnur Snaedal, a professor with expertise in runes, has examined the spindle and decoded the inscription. “The female name Thórunn is probably inscribed to the fraction and the words ‘owns me’.”

The spindle is made from green sandstone which indicates that it was made from a stone from Esja, the mountain which towers over Reykjavík.

Relics of the oldest inhabitation in Reykjavík have been discovered near the Althingi building, the most important of which is the settlement lodge on Adalstraeti 16.

Gardarsdóttir said various objects have been discovered which indicate that during the settlement era this was an industrial area and such operations were probably undertaken inside or next to the lodge.