New app shows location of runestones in Sweden

Published 3 July 2024
- By Editorial Staff
The runestones "Sö 224" and "Sö 225" in Grödby in Sorunda parish.

The new app Swedish Runestones (Svenska runstenar) will help visitors to find the country’s runestones. The app provides guidance via an interactive map, information about the runestone and its condition.

Researcher Sofia Pereswetoff-Morath from Stockholm University developed the app, which is described as unique to Sweden’s runestones. Among other things, you can find out what condition the stone is in, whether it is painted or not, and whether it is damaged. The runestones are also rated with 1-5 stars depending on their condition.

Pereswetoff-Morath says that it is difficult to find runestones today because many have been moved and there is not much information about them.

– It is difficult to find runestones, even if you are very interested, she said in a press release. Many stones have been moved and are no longer in their original locations.

There is also digital signage that provides information about the stones. Although many rune stones have information signs, some are missing, and even where signs are present, they may contain outdated information.

– With digital signage in the app, I can update the runestone text, reading, and interpretation at any time, and the user always gets the most up-to-date information about the runestone, she explains.

Currently there are about 1300 of the 2000 runestones found in Sweden. At the moment, all runestones are available in Gästrikland, Medelpad, Hälsingland, Uppland, Södermanland, Västmanland, Värmland and Närke. Runestones available in Götaland will be added to the app later this fall.

Later, users will also be able to report if something in the app is wrong, for example by sending a photo. The app, which can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play, will also be available in English in due course.

What you didn’t know about rune stones

Most of the known runestones were erected around the 11th century. The oldest ones discovered date back to the 4th century and can be found in the State Historical Museum, such as the Kylver Stone. There are big differences between the different types of runestones, especially the newer ones often have more personal and more banal messages like “Harald carved this stone”. On older stones and objects, various forms of incantations and spells have been carved with more mystical purposes in mind, according to some on the basis of so-called gematri – speech magic.

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