Runes Solve Mystery of 1,100-Year-Old Viking Amulet

Runes Solve Mystery of 1,100-Year-Old Viking Amulet

In the first millennium CE, Vikings wore little replicas of Thor’s hammer Mjölnir, like this one discovered recently in Denmark. What’s incredible about this find are the runes on the hammer.

Amulets like these have been discovered all over the Viking world, but until now, archaeologists couldn’t say for sure that they were supposed to be representations of Thor’s hammer or not. They seem like hammers, but they are so stylized that they could also have been something else. But this amulet, discovered on a Danish island, bears a few runes (see below in closeup) that translate to the phrase “This is a hammer.”


According Past Horizons, which reported on the find:

The small Thor’s hammer from Købelev has interlacing ornament on one side of the hammer head and the short runic inscription on the other. The runes range in height from 3 to 7 mm, so it required precision to inscribe them onto the object. It took some time to comprehend the actual meaning of the inscription; partly because the runes are so small, partly due to surface corrosion on the 1100 years year old amulet and also because of the imperfect runic inscription itself.

The runes translate into modern English as ‘Hammer is‘ where the x indicates the separator between the two words. This translates more properly into ‘This is a hammer‘. This could indicate that the inscriber was absolutely literate [and] managed to make an inscription fit into a tiny space.

Read more here


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