Jelling stones

Jelling stones
Jelling Mounds, Runic Stones and Church *
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Jelling stones, with mound in background
Country Denmark
Type Cultural
Criteria iii
Reference 697
Region ** Europe and North America
Coordinates 55°45′21″N 9°25′10″E / 55.75583°N 9.41944°E / 55.75583; 9.41944Coordinates: 55°45′21″N 9°25′10″E / 55.75583°N 9.41944°E / 55.75583; 9.41944
Inscription history
Inscription 1994 (18th Session)
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List
** Region as classified by UNESCO

The Jelling stones are massive carved runestones from the 10th century, found at the town of Jelling in Denmark. The older of the two Jelling stones was raised by King Gorm the Old in memory of his wife Thyra. The larger of the two stones was raised by King Gorm's son, Harald Bluetooth in memory of his parents, celebrating his conquest of Denmark and Norway, and his conversion of the Danes to Christianity. The runic inscriptions on these stones are considered the most well known in Denmark.[1]


National heritage site

The Jelling stones stand in the churchyard of Jelling church between two large mounds. The stones represent the transitional period between the indigenous Norse paganism and the process of Christianization in Denmark. They are strongly identified with the creation of Denmark as a nation state.

After having been exposed to all kinds of weather for a thousand years cracks are beginning to show. On the 15th of November 2008 experts from UNESCO examined the stones to determine their condition. Experts have requested the stones be moved to an indoor exhibition hall, or in some other way protected in situ, to prevent further damage from the weather.[2]

Heritage Agency of Denmark decided to keep the stones in their current location and selected a protective design from 157 projects submitted through a competition. The winner of the competition was Nobel Architects. The design features rectangular glass casings strengthened by two solid bronze sides mounted on a supporting steel skeleton. The bronze patina will give off a rusty, greenish colour, highlighting the runestones’ gray and reddish tones and emphasising their monumental character and significance. The glass will be coated with an anti-reflective material that gives the exhibit a greenish hue. A climate system will also keep the inside of the structures at a fixed temperature and humidity. Transoms and other mounting fixtures on the casings will not be visible to visitors.

Although Nobel Architects’ design has won the competition, the Jelling church council must now decide whether the design will be implemented in its existing form or if it should be modified. No date has been given as to when the structures will eventually be completed.[3]

Runestone of Gorm

Gorm's runestone, side A

The inscription on the older and smaller of the Jelling stones reads: "King Gormr made this monument in memory of Thyrvé, his wife, Denmark's adornment." (Rundata, DR 41) The Old Norse inscription in Younger Futhark runes appears as follows:

Gorm's runestone, side B
(side A) ᛬ ᚴᚢᚱᛘᛦ ᛬ ᚴᚢᚾᚢᚴᛦ ᛬
᛬ ᚴ(ᛅᚱ)ᚦᛁ ᛬ ᚴᚢᛒᛚ ᛬ ᚦᚢᛋᛁ ᛬
᛬ ᛅ(ᚠᛏ) ᛬ ᚦᚢᚱᚢᛁ ᛬ ᚴᚢᚾᚢ
(side B) ᛬ ᛋᛁᚾᛅ ᛬ ᛏᛅᚾᛘᛅᚱᚴᛅᛦ ᛬ ᛒᚢᛏ ᛬
(side A) : kurmR : kunukR :
 : k(ar)þi : kubl : þusi :
 : a(ft) : þurui : kunu
(side B) | sina | tanmarkaR | but |
(Jacobsen & Moltke, 1941-42, DR 41)

Runestone of Harald Bluetooth

Harald's runestone, side A. (Transcribed text.).

The inscription on the larger of the two Jelling stones reads: "King Haraldr ordered this monument made in memory of Gormr, his father, and in memory of Thyrvé, his mother; that Haraldr who won for himself all of Denmark and Norway and made the Danes Christian." (Rundata, DR 42)

(side A)
ᚼᛅᚱᛅᛚᛏᚱ ᛬ ᚴᚢᚾᚢᚴᛦ ᛬ ᛒᛅᚦ ᛬ ᚴᛅᚢᚱᚢᛅ
ᚴᚢᛒᛚ ᛬ ᚦᛅᚢᛋᛁ ᛬ ᛅᚠᛏ ᛬ ᚴᚢᚱᛘ ᚠᛅᚦᚢᚱ ᛋᛁᚾ
ᛅᚢᚴ ᛅᚠᛏ ᛬ ᚦᚭᚢᚱᚢᛁ ᛬ ᛘᚢᚦᚢᚱ ᛬ ᛋᛁᚾᛅ ᛬ ᛋᛅ
ᚼᛅᚱᛅᛚᛏᚱ (᛬) ᛁᛅᛋ ᛬ ᛋᚭᛦ ᛫ ᚢᛅᚾ ᛫ ᛏᛅᚾᛘᛅᚢᚱᚴ
(side B)
ᛅᛚᛅ ᛫ ᛅᚢᚴ ᛫ ᚾᚢᚱᚢᛁᛅᚴ
(side C)
᛫ ᛅᚢᚴ ᛫ ᛏ(ᛅ)ᚾᛁ (᛫ ᚴᛅᚱᚦᛁ ᛫) ᚴᚱᛁᛋᛏᚾᚭ
The figure of Christ on Harald's runestone.


(side A)
haraltr : kunukR : baþ : kaurua
kubl : þausi : aft : kurm faþur sin
auk aft : þąurui : muþur : sina : sa
haraltr (:) ias : sąR * uan * tanmaurk
(side B)
ala * auk * nuruiak
(side C)
* auk * t(a)ni (* karþi *) kristną
(Jacobsen & Moltke, 1941-42, DR 42)

Phonetic transcription:

(side A)
[ˈharaldr ˈkʰɔnʊŋɡɽ ˈbɑð ˈɡœrwa]
[ˈkʰʊmbl θøːsi aft ˈɡɔrm ˈfaðʊr siːn]
[ʌk aft ˈθœrwɪ moːður siːna saː]
[ˈharaldr ɛs sæːɽ wanː ˈdanmɒrkʰ]
(side B)
[ˈalːa ɒkʰ ˈnɔrwɛɣ]
(side C)
[ɒkʰ ˈdanɪ ˈɡarðɪ ˈkʰrɪstna]

The stone has a figure of Jesus Christ on one side and on another side a serpent wrapped around a lion. Christ is depicted as standing in the shape of a cross and entangled in what appear to be branches.[4] One scholar has suggested that this imagry was used to suggest that Christ had replaced the Norse pagan god Odin, who in one myth hung for nine nights in the tree Yggdrasill.[4]

In 1955, a plaster cast of this stone was made for a festival in London. It is now located in the grounds of the Danish Church in London, 4 St. Katherines Precinct, Regents Park, London. The copy is painted in bright colors, like the original. Most of the original paint has flaked away from the original stone, but enough small specks of paint remained to tell us what the colors looked like when they were freshly painted. A copy is also located in the National Museum of Denmark, and another copy, decorated by R. Broby-Johansen in the 1930s, just outside the Jelling museum, which stands within sight of the Jelling mounds.[5] Another copy of this stone was placed in 1936 on the Domplein ('Dom Square') in Utrecht, next to the Cathedral of Utrecht, on the occasion of the 300th anniversary of Utrecht University.

See also


  1. ^ Jelling stones. Encyclopædia Britannica. 2008. 
  2. ^ "Eksperter: Runestenene skal reddes". Danmarks Radio. 16 November 2008. Retrieved 16 November 2008. 
  3. ^ "Jelling Stones get designer cases". Copenhagen Post. 5 March 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Kure, Henning (2007). "Hanging on the World Tree: Man and Cosmos in Old Norse Mythic Poetry". In Andrén, Anders; Jennbert, Kristina et al. Old Norse Religion in Long-Term Perspectives: Origins, Changes, and Interactions. Lund: Nordic Academic Press. pp. 68–73. ISBN 91-89116-81-X 978-91-89116-81-8.  p. 69-70.
  5. ^ Jellingstenen - en del af historiekanonen, Lærere i grundskolen: Historie, EMU, Danmarks Undervisningsportal (Danish)

Further reading

  • Hogan, C. Michael. "Jelling Stones," Megalithic Portal, editor Andy Burnham
  • Rundata, Joint Nordic database for runic inscriptions.
  • Jacobsen, Lis; Moltke, Erik (1941-42). Danmarks Runeindskrifter. Copenhagen: Ejnar Munksgaards Forlag. 

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Jelling stones — ▪ Danish gravestones  two 10th century royal gravestones found in Jutland, best known of all Danish runic inscriptions. The earlier stone, a memorial honouring Queen Thyre, was commissioned by her husband, King Gorm the Old, last pagan king of… …   Universalium

  • Jelling — is a village situated in Vejle municipality, Denmark on the Jutland peninsula. Previously a Viking royal locality, today Jelling is a small town with a population of 3,178 (2008).Jelling is the site of two great Tumulus mounds erected in the late …   Wikipedia

  • Jelling Municipality — Until January 1, 2007 Jelling municipality was a municipality (Danish, kommune ) in Vejle County on the Jutland peninsula in southeast Denmark. The municipality covered an area of 89 km², and had a total population of 5,697 (2005). Its last mayor …   Wikipedia

  • Boris stones — Boris stone near Cathedral of St. Sophia. Polatsk, Belarus Boris Stones (Belarusian: Барысавы камяні, [baˈrɨsavɨ kamʲaˈni]; Russian: Борисовы камни), also called Dvina Stones (Russian …   Wikipedia

  • Pierres de jelling — Tumulus, pierres runiques et église de Jelling 1 Patrimoine mondial de l’UNESCO Latitude Longitude …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Pierres de Jelling — Tumulus, pierres runiques et église de Jelling * …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Runensteine von Jelling — Die Runensteine von Jelling sind zwei der wenigen Steine, die dänischen Königen gewidmet sind und ihre Taten thematisieren. Sie entstanden Mitte bis Ende des 10. Jahrhunderts. Zusammen mit dem Grabhügel und der Kirche von Jelling (Bild der… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Harald I of Denmark — Harald Bluetooth Gormson ( da. Harald Blåtand, no. Haraldr blátönn , no. Harald Blåtann), was born around 935, the son of King Gorm the Old and of Thyra (also known as Thyre Danebod ) a supposed daughter of Harald Klak, Jarl of Jutland, or… …   Wikipedia

  • Gorm the Old — Gorm learns of the death of his son Canute, painting by August Carl Vilhelm Thomsen. Gorm the Old (Danish: Gorm den Gamle, Old Norse: Gormr gamli), also called Gorm the Sleepy (Danish: Gorm Løge dvaske), was the first historically recognized King …   Wikipedia

  • Denmark — This article is about the country. For other uses, see Denmark (disambiguation). Denmark Danmark …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.