Corona Diary – Day 53

Thursday, 7 May

A cycle ride to Jädra, a hamlet a couple of kilometres outside of Uppsala beyond Vaksala, in search of a rune stone (they have numbers like u-boats, this one being rune stone U 974). It’s a fine day and a pleasant ride there but I’m a bit doubtful about this excursion as my map shows a dead end with a few buildings at the end. I imagine arriving more or less in the courtyard of someone’s house catapulting into a family gathering drinking coffee and perhaps thinking how fortunate they are in these Corona times to be away from it all in their pleasant rural environment. And then in comes David Kendall on his bike waving his map around and muttering about a rune stone. Probably not a red-carpet welcome situation.

But all goes well. There is a cluster of buildings at the end of the road including a house but no one around. Not even a doberman slavering at the thought of single combat with a cyclist. The only obstacle is what looks very much like an unmarked electric fence but I find a place where I can cross it, looking like a pedagogic illustration of the word “gingerly” for teaching English to foreigners.

It takes a stumbling while to locate the stone at the edge of one of the clumps of trees.

From Wikipedia, I learn that the runic message on the stone is:

inkulfr auk yntr litu raisa st__

iftiR inkialt brudur sin

uk sun kunulfs

þaiR

In Swedish, “Ingulf och Önd de lät resa stenen efter Ingjald, sin bror och Gunnulfs son.”

(Ingulf and Önd put up this stone [had this stone put up] in memory of Ingjald their (?) brother and Gunnulf’s son”).

Ingulf and Önd are both men’s names.

When looking at these names, I also learn the useful sentence “theonymy is a branch of onomastics”, theonymy being the study of divine proper names and onomastics being the study of the history and origin of proper names, especially personal names.

According to the information sign, the rune stone was erected in the 11th Century and is probably at its original location. It was known in the sixteenth century but then lost or forgotten about until rediscovered in the mid-nineteenth century (it had apparently fallen down with the rune side downwards, presumably in the same location).

Pictures on my facebook page.

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