Life among the runes / La vida entre las runas

La versión en español está después de la versión en inglés.

I’ve told you about Bryggen (the dock) in Bergen, a series of commercial buildings initially constructed around the year 1100. There were many fires over the years (which you can see chronicled in the animation below, but doesn’t include the destruction of both world wars) and the current buildings all date after 1702.

However, behind and beneath the existing buildings is a different story. There are original structural posts flooring, shards, clothing, goods, and much more. I’ll share more photos and stories but today is about the day I visited the Bryggen Museum.

In 1955, during excavations after yet another fire, these structures and objects were discovered. The runes, carved in wood and sometimes bone, and on average less than 9-inches / 23 cm long, used to be thought to be only names, and solemn and profound phrases. The couple I’ve shared below prove that wasn’t true. Both these are dated to around 1248–1332. Others were more than a century older. If you would like to write your own runes, I’ve provided the alphabet at top.


Ya les hablé sobre Bryggen (el muelle) en Bergen, una serie de edificios comerciales construidos inicialmente alrededor del año 1100. Hubo muchos incendios a lo largo de los años (que puedes ver en la crónica de la animación a continuación, pero no incluye la destrucción de ambas guerras mundiales) y los edificios actuales datan de después de 1702.

Sin embargo, detrás y debajo de los edificios existentes es una historia diferente. Hay postes estructurales originales carbonizados en uno u otro de los incendios, pisos, y mucho más. Compartiré más fotos e historias, pero hoy es sobre el día que visité el Museo Bryggen.

En 1955, durante las excavaciones posteriores a otro incendio, se descubrieron estas estructuras y objetos. Las runas, talladas en madera y, a veces, en hueso y en promedio de menos de 23 cm / 9 pulgadas de largo, solían pensarse que eran solo nombres y frases solemnes y profundas. La pareja que he compartido a continuación prueba que eso no era cierto. Ambos están fechados alrededor de 1248-1332. Otros eran más de un siglo mayores. Si desea escribir sus propias runas, le proporcioné el alfabeto en la parte superior.

• Remains of Bryggen buildings from the 12th century.
• Restos de edificios de Bryggen del siglo XII.
• Those are great-looking teeth for a 900-year-old man.
• Esos son dientes hermosos para un hombre de 900 años.
• Some people might call this rune solemn and profound.
• Algunas personas podrían llamar a esta runa solemne y profunda.
• That translates to “lay with” and not slept with. I doubt Smed was bragging about a good night’s sleep. Men.
• Eso se traduce como “acostarse con” y no dormir con. Dudo que Smed se jactara de haber dormido bien. Hombres.

Click the thumbnails. The Twizy will be almost actual size..
Haz clic en las miniaturas. El Twizy será casi de tamaño real.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

28 thoughts on “Life among the runes / La vida entre las runas”

  1. What lies beneath our feet? There is a blogger in the south west who does archaeological surveys on building sites.

  2. All those wooden buildings…yowza, such a fire hazard. Love how that one building being worked on in your first large photo has the resemblance of the building painted on the buildings enormous plastic covering. Very clever to keep the port area looking attractive.

    The name Vigdis evidently has the Norwegian origin meaning “war goddess” — so perhaps Smed (origin meaning Blacksmith) was really bragging. He was lucky Vigdis didn’t cosh him one with his bragging spoon. Or perhaps carving that item was the last thing he ever did… 🙂

    1. Mary:
      I, too, love the coverings on the buildings being worked on. Much more aesthetic and great for pictures.

    1. Mistress Borghese:
      It’s astounding to see how many fires there were. During the Nazi occupation there was an explosion in the harbor that seriously damaged both sides of the city. And they rebuild. But, yes, amazing how old things still are.

    1. John:
      I haven’t been there since the ´70s and the museum didn’t exist then that I can remember. I can only imagine how much more they’ve discovered.

    1. Walt the Fourth:
      There’s one in Elvish that hasn’t been translated. I’ll bet that’s it!

  3. WOW! Can’t believe how many there were!
    Very interesting about the runes……..ancient ‘twitter’ maybe?

    1. Jim:
      Ha! Definitely ancient twitter. Wonder what happened between the time runes died out in the 14th century and the age of Twitter.

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