Kingittorsuaq Stone

‘Erlingr Sighvats sonr ok Bjarni Þórðarson ok Einriði Jónsson(?) laugardagin fyrir gagndag hlóðu vǫrðu þá ok ruddu…’
‘Erling Sighvatsson and Bjarni Thórđarson and Einriđi Jónsson(?), the Saturday before Rogation Day (25th of April), built this cairn and cleared…’

The Kingittorsuaq Runestone (GR 1) is a monument to the explorative nature of the Norsemen, having been carved on the island of Kingittorsuaq off the coast of Greenland, which is at an incredible 72° north. Certain descriptions of Norse explorations in Greenland suggest that they may have even reached further than 75° north, which would remain the ‘Farthest North’ for another four centuries.

The inscription appears to simply be a testament to the journey, although it ends with several so-far undeciphered symbols, leaving it shrouded in mystery.

The dialect used shows a number of unique features, with various dental fricatives written as dental stops and assimilation of ‘r’ to ‘l’ and ‘n,’ although here the inscription is normalized to contemporaneous Icelandic in order to avoid over-interpretation of certain rune choices.

The stone dates to the beginning of the 14th century. It is possible to read the H-like symbols before the first two lines as ‘13’ and ’14,’ thus dating the stone to the year 1314 A.D., although this is highly speculative, and they could just as easily read simply ‘3’ and ‘4,’ or even ‘i’ and ‘s.’

Photo: Runesten by Lennart Larsen / Nationalmuseet, CC BY-SA 2.0 / Link

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