Runic Inscriptions Through Time & Space


This map plots the distribution of Scandinavian runic inscriptions (from the Samnordisk runtextdatabas) by date, showing inscriptions which have been dated to within the date range given. Clicking on an individual inscription reveals summary information about it.

The map was originally created somewhat hurriedly as a proof-of-concept for some work I’m doing to coerce the information in the SRDB into a more structured, relational model. I try to update it with new features and small improvements when I can. At this point it’s of fairly limited use, but it’s quite fun to play around with. :) Note, however, that there are a number of caveats concerning both the map and the data that it’s worth bearing in mind.

If you have any comments or questions about the map, I’d be very interested in hearing your !


Use the normal Google Maps controls to zoom in and out, move around, etc. Use the sliders underneath to specify a date range (TPQTAQ) in years AD; the map will update to display all the inscriptions which have been dated to within that range. You can also drag the range between them to move both sliders while keeping the date span constant, or key in years manually. Click on a cluster of inscriptions to zoom in and disaggregate them; click on a single inscription to see a pop-up with its signum, date, and where it’s situated (if recorded). Clicking the signum will take you to a more complete record for the inscription. You can also limit the search to show only runestones or bracteates, using the radio-buttons.

If you find the clustering of inscriptions when zoomed unhelpful (or too slow!) there is an alternate version of the page which displays one dot per inscription at all zoom levels. It may run quicker on certain platforms, but it does get pretty crowded!

Inscription records

Each inscription has its own URI, containing details about it derived from SRDB. However, for the time being not much information is displayed beyond a short summary – no texts yet, I’m afraid. You can access an individual inscription’s record by giving its signum as the path part of the URI, in the form /signum/signum1/signum2. Obsolete signa will automatically redirect to the current, canonical signum. Omitting the …/signum2 from the end of the URI returns a list of all inscriptions under the given signum1, and /signum on its own returns a list of all current signum1s, in a REST-ish sort of way.

Alternate schemata

You can also access some inscriptions using alternate schemata, if for example you’re working from older references. Supported schemes under /alt are Bautil and Liljegren for Swedish (and some other) inscriptions, Krause & Jankuhn for Danish, Swedish and Norwegian inscriptions, DK for Danish inscriptions numbered by region, Kermode for the Manx material, and catalogue numbers from Axboe, Düwel, Hauck & von Padberg’s Ikonographischer Katalog for bracteates. These URIs redirect to the current signa.

Links to other objects

Although the information on each inscription’s page is currently fairly spartan, there are a few elements which highlight the benefits of moving the database to a relational model. If an inscription is paired with another, or forms part of a larger monument, reciprocal links to the relevant signa are included. Similarly, if an inscription is a fragment of a larger whole – or consists of such fragments with their own signa – links to those signa are also given. An inscription’s former (obsolete) signa, and signa under earlier schemata, are also noted where present, and outbound links to the URIs of corresponding objects in the respective HERs of Denmark, Norway, and Sweden are provided for a subset of inscriprions.

If you have any questions, or encounter any problems while using the map, do please .


There are a number of caveats to bear in mind when using the map. Foremost among them is the fact that I originally knocked it together in an afternoon simply in order to have an example application for the work I’m doing on the Samnordisk runtextdatabas – something more visually appealing than a collection of rather dry (but very neat!) database tables. Which explains why it looks rather spartan.

That’s the general caveat; here are some more:


A number of people have contributed – directly or indirectly – to the development of the map and the data structure which drives it, and I’d like to express my sincere thanks and appreciation for their help and support.