Runes from Lány (Czech Republic) - The oldest inscription among Slavs. A new standard for multidisciplinary analysis of runic bones: A new standard for multidisciplinary analysis of runic bones

Jiří Macháček, Robert Nedoma, Petr Dresler, Ilektra Schulz, Elias Lagonik, Stephen M. Johnson, Ludmilla Kaňáková, Alena Slámová, Bastien Llamas, Daniel Wegmann, Zuzana Hofmanová

Veröffentlichungen: Beitrag in FachzeitschriftArtikelPeer Reviewed


When Roman administration and legions gradually withdrew from the outer provinces after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, they created a power void filled by various groups. The dynamic Migration Period that followed is usually considered to have ended when the Germanic Lombards allegedly left Central Europe and were replaced by Slavs. Whether or how Slavic and Germanic tribes interacted, however, is currently disputed. Here we report the first direct archaeological find in support of a contact: a bone fragment dated to similar to 600 AD incised with Germanic runes but found in Lany, Czechia, a contemporaneous settlement associated with Slavs. We documented and authenticated this artifact using a combined approach of use-wear analysis with SEM microscopy, direct radiocarbon dating, and ancient DNA analysis of the animal bone, thereby setting a new standard for the investigation of runic bones. The find is the first older fuark inscription found in any non-Germanic context and suggests that the presumed ancestors of modern Slavic speakers encountered writing much earlier than previously thought.

FachzeitschriftJournal of Archaeological Science
PublikationsstatusVeröffentlicht - März 2021

ÖFOS 2012

  • 602046 Skandinavistik
  • 605002 Kulturgeschichte
  • 602014 Germanistik
  • 601004 Epigraphik