Runic Resources

This comprehensive list was compiled and provided by AARS Blogger and Ph.D. candidate Tristan Mueller-Vollmer. Drawn as resources from the exhaustive references described in his dissertation on Swedish runestones from the Viking age, it includes books, blogs, websites and other papers of use both to runic studies beginners and to scholarly researchers.

 Sveriges runinskrifter (Sweden’s Runic Inscriptions)

This is the currently 15-volume series launched in 1900 that serves as the main foundational source for runic inscriptions within Sweden. It created the now-standard cataloging system for Swedish runic inscriptions, which uses the province the inscription occurs in plus a number (eg. U 73, Vg 13, etc.). If you can read Swedish, this is an excellent place to go for a starting point on scholarly research on any included inscription from Sweden.

 Scandinavian Runic-text Database

The other main resource for runic research and study is the Scandinavian Runic-text Database, available through the program Rundata. The application is free to download and runs on Windows. Rundata is a very versatile program that allows the user to display inscriptions according to country, region, age, material, and much more, and also provides English translations of every interpretable inscription.

 Runic Inscriptions Through Time & Space

 This website allows users to search geographical areas for runic inscriptions. The controls allow one to search according to century, original/current location of the inscriptions, and restrict the search to the type of object (runestones, rune sticks, coins, etc.). This is a great way of getting an overview of how many inscriptions are in any geographic region, and can be helpful when planning field excursions.

 Christer Hamp’s website

 This is a fantastic website to find pictures of runic inscriptions. It is divided into two eras: “old” (160 to 1700 CE) and “new” (1700 to present day). One can browse through the listings for all countries or search within the inscriptions’ transliterations and Swedish translations. At the bottom right are links to pages organized around known rune carvers, the Ingvar-stones, the Jarlabanki-stones, stones with images from the story of Sigurd the dragon-slayer, and newly-published pages.

 Uppsala Rune Blog

The Uppsala Rune Blog is written by the Director of the Uppsala Runic Forum, Professor Henrik Williams and has been on the web since September 2016. The posts deal with a variety of topics such as interesting new discoveries, special lectures, runic excursions, and other runic topics of interest that are well-worth reading. One can even sign up to receive emails when new posts are published and never miss a beat.

 Norse and Viking Ramblings

 Judith Jesch’s highly-recommendable blog has been on the web since 2008 and spans across various runic- and Viking-related topics from new archaeological discoveries to upcoming films, books, Viking ship replicas, and many other items of interest. It always makes for an interesting, informative, and entertaining read.

 Futhark Journal

 Futhark is an annual journal published by the universities of Oslo and Uppsala, and is free for anyone to read and download. Most of the articles are in English, so it is accessible to a wide audience. Futhark is perhaps the best journal to help readers keep abreast of current international scholarly runic research.

 Michael Barnes’ Runes: A Handbook

 If you only read one book on runes, this would be an excellent choice. Barnes lays out the basics of the field in a very readable way and provides good examples in each section. The book’s recent date (2012) means it is up-to-date and a very sound scholarly work. This is a great foundational work for any runic library.

Erik Moltke’s Runes and their Origin: Denmark and Elsewhere (Translated by Peter G. Foote)

This out-of-print classic can be hard to get a hold of, but is well-worth it. The book consists of two parts: one about the development of the Scandinavian runic alphabets, and one very extensive part on runic inscriptions, divided into Pre-Viking Age, Viking Age, and the Middle Ages. This book is a must if you are especially interested in runes in Denmark.

Terje Spurkland’s Norwegian Runes and Runic Inscriptions

As the title suggests, this book provides an overview of the Norwegian runic inscriptions, from the earliest runestones to the numerous medieval rune stick inscriptions found in Bergen. Spurkland offers accessible linguistic information and cultural insights relevant to runic inscriptions in Norway.

R. I. Page’s An Introduction to English Runes

If you are interested in English runes, this is the book for you. Page lays out an almost exhaustive introduction to the Anglo-Saxon runes and runic inscriptions on stones, coins, manuscripts, and other materials. This book makes for an excellent addition to a well-rounded runic library.

Martin Findell: Runes

This book tells the story of runes from their mysterious origins, their development as a script, to their use and meaning in the modern world. Illustrated with a range of beautiful objects from jewelry to tools and weapons, Runes will reveal memorials for the dead, business messages, charms and curses, insults and prayers, giving us a glimpse into the languages and cultures of Europeans over a thousand years ago.

Sven Jansson: The Runes of Sweden

Jansson’s tome is beautifully illustrated and describes the more than 3,000 runic inscriptions known from Sweden – nearly four times as many as are known from the rest of the Germanic world. It describes Viking raids, ventures in trade, events in farming communities, and the introduction of Christianity.