Swedish National Heritage Board publishes new runic research tool

Runor is the fantastic new online runic research tool published by the Swedish National Heritage Board and deserves a little walkthrough. Visit here: https://app.raa.se/open/runor/

One of the biggest advantages of this website is that the main feature is a map where all runic inscriptions for a given search are displayed. It also allows users to explore runic inscriptions geographically by clicking on the marker points on the map. Finally it is possible to easily find runic inscriptions based on their oldest known location or current location and get a sense of the distribution of various inscriptions.

The main options for searching are to search the runic text, by signum (inscription ID), or discovery location of inscriptions. The text/information returned is drawn from the Scandinavian Runic-text Database which the downloadable Rundata also uses. The main information for each inscription displayed includes the signum, location, runic transliteration, standardized Old West Norse or East Norse (or Proto-Norse, Old Gutnish, etc.), and an English translation. However, while the Runor interface is available in both English and Swedish, the text from the database is in Swedish, so search results end up being a mixture of the two. For example, the labels such as “Artefact” and “Material” are in English, but the information populating the fields is in Swedish (for N 450, spänne ‘clasp’ and brons ‘bronze’ respectively).

The filter function allows one to select or exclude inscriptions in a certain area, the type of object inscribed (i.e. runestone, baptismal font, fibula, coin, doorjamb, etc.), the type of material the inscriptions are found on (i.e. wood, stone, bone, metal, etc.), and finally the date of the inscription, using “From” and “To” fields for the beginning and end of a date range. However, similar to the database entries returned from searches, the drop-down lists for object type and material are also in Swedish, which may be a drawback for some.

However, one big advantage of Runor aside from its relative ease of use, is that for each inscription there is a drop-down arrow where images of the inscription are displayed if they are available. This is accompanied by documentation and references for scholarly work. Overall, it is a very useful tool for runic research and may serve as a more user-friendly alternative to Rundata. Try it out today!

Uppsala University Magazine recently published an article about Runor.  Read full article here.