The Younger Futhark of Northern Scandinavia

The Stone of choice for master rune carvers tended generally to be granite: it was not always chosen for its size or firmness, but for the message that both, the Jarl or King, wanted the runemaster or stonemason to carve there. They have been found measuring half a meter, one meter and even more than two, with carvings on both sides and even on the sides.

The master on the stone carved in a way called “bustróphedon” which meant that the runic stone could be interpreted from right to left and from left to right alternately starting each line where the previous one ended.

A rune engraver, carver or expert in runic art, he was a specialized runemaster or stonemason. He had to be careful with the line and of course know the runes (current runic alphabet) very well and not only that, he had to master the mythology, the reigning politics and have his own talent. Carving in bone or wood was more accessible but there were few masters who carved in stone, because of how difficult and arduous it was; for this reason and even more so as the orders grew, the master runic stonemasons became hired "specialists" and very well. paid, they signed under their work so that it would be known who had done it, like an artist with their work.

The rune-carving explosion occurred mostly between the 10th and 11th centuries. The archaeologists who study them today have been able to detect, in many stones, the signature or "sign" that the masters left in their work to be recognized.

The signatures of more than one hundred runemaster have been identified, including of course, like every egalitarian Nordic society, the master of female teachers.

Among the most recognized teachers are:

  • ASMUND KARESSON: It had its heyday in the early 11th century in the Uppland and Gastrikland area, Sweden. His work was identified by strongly delineating the runes, knots or clasps in the graphics. Style: Early Runes.

  • BALLE: His work area was focused to the west of Uppland, Västmanland and north of Södermanland, in Sweden during the middle of the 11th century. Up to now, 24 runic stones have been awarded through his distinctive seal which consisted of carving a point "." between word and word within the runic inscription. Style: Medium Runes

  • FOT: His work area was focused to the south of Uppland in Sweden, where some 40 runic stones of his authority have been cataloged.

  • His distinctive move was to place an "x" between the word spacing. Style: Medium Runes

  • HALVDAN: Great runemaster or master stonemason who carved his works during the first half of the 11th century, in the Swedish region of Södermalnland. Like his predecessors, he left his mark, each word was separated by a well-marked colon ":" and in Falun red. Style: Initial Runes

  • ULF DE BORRESTA: It had its area of influence in Orkesta, around Stockholm, Sweden. He was also a wealthy Viking that with prizes obtained in gold thanks to his raids, “Danegeld ”achieved great renown in the kingdom. Style: Late Rinngerike - Initial Runes.

  • VISÄTE: He left his mark on Uppland with seven runic stones at the end of the 11th century. His works were complete with meandering lines, without the presence of Christian crosses, thin and elongated runes in the young Futhark.

  • He is the author of the largest runic stone found so far "The Granby Runestone" (3 meters wide by 5 meters long). Style: Late Runes.

  • ÖPIR: Its area of influence remained in Uppland, mid-twelfth century, on the east coast of the Suion kingdom, specifically in Roslagen, the heart of the Rus who left for the east and other parts of the kingdom such as Gastrikland and Södermanland.

  • Between fifty to one hundred runic stones have been attributed to him. His master was to use a single serpent in the shape of an eight, stretching it to cover the stone completely using only runes from the young Futhark. He is considered another of the last master stonemasons in Viking Norse history. Style: Runes late or refined.

  • GUNNBORGA "den goda" (the good one) is considered the only female runemaster that has proper evidence. Its area of influence was Hälsingland, north of Uppland.

The only stone attributed to it is HI 21, in the RAK (Rigerike) style, from the late 10th century. It shows a simple text with mythological overtones carved into a young Futhark. Painted the runes in red “Falun” color. The stone is partially preserved and therefore much of its description has been lost.