Soapstone round play figure discovered during archaeological excavations prior to repairing a sewer pipe in Trondheim, Norway, rune. This is only the second known runic-inscribed game figure ever discovered in Norway.
During the excavations, a sunken pit with archaeological layers dating back to the Middle Ages was discovered. The deepest part of the pit, more than 12 feet below the surface of the modern street, has been dated to between 1000 and 1150 BC. two layers.
At first, archaeologists thought that the lines carved into the surface of the round piece might be stylized plant motifs, but the geometry also resembled runic inscriptions, albeit in an artistic manner.
The team sent high-resolution images of the piece to runologist Karen Langsholt Holmqvist. She was so intrigued that she was forced to see the object in person. It was then that she finally identified the decoration as runic writing.
“When you first look at a game piece, it may seem that it has only a slightly uneven geometric pattern, perhaps a snow crystal. But looking more closely, I saw that the lines were not random patterns, but a carefully planned runic inscription. Since the inscription repeats the curvature of the in-game item, the inscription is a little strange and strange, but there is no doubt that these are runes.
“And in the microscope, I also found that there are guide lines drawn on, so there is no doubt that the rune maker had planned well to make the inscription fit the round shape of the piece. There are fields on the playing field that do not have runic inscriptions, but here the shaker filled the void with a pattern, ”continues Holmqvist.
The runes are read as “siggsifr”. It is likely that this name is often found in runic inscriptions on small objects such as game pieces. “Sig”, meaning “fight” in Norwegian, is a name prefix for both male and female names. The letter “r” at the end indicates that this is a male name. “Sifr” is a poetic metaphor meaning “brother”, so perhaps the name meant “brother in arms”. The name may refer to the person who owned the piece of the game, or the person who put the inscription on it. It can also be an indirect reference to the piece itself, the name of the role it plays, such as the equivalent of a knight or bishop in chess.