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In Denmark, archaeologists discovered runes engraved on a blade almost 2,000 years old. These are the oldest such inscriptions found to date in the country.

The blade was found under an urn in an Iron Age burial near the city of Odense on the island of Funen in 2021.

Before this, the oldest inscription was considered to be on a comb found in 1865 on the island of Funen. It dates from around the same time as the blade.

However, the inscription on the blade was discovered only in the summer of 2023. Then it was stored in the restoration department. On one side they noticed a small runic inscription, and on the other – a complex engraving.

As soon as they made this discovery, archaeologists contacted a runologist from the National Museum of Denmark to decipher the inscription.

It turned out that it consists of five runes, followed by three grooves. Experts believe that the blade is inscribed with “hirila,” which translates from Old Norse as “small sword.”

Runic writing has been used in some regions of Northern Europe since about the 2nd century AD, and possibly earlier. Some of the earliest known inscriptions in Scandinavia were found in Norway and Denmark. And later engravings were also discovered in Sweden and Iceland.

According to archaeologists, other items found at the burial site, including brooches, helped date the blade. It is believed to have been created in 150 AD.

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