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Runic Inscriptions

1 IntroductIon The ancient magical letters of the runic alphabets have appeared in inscriptions from the first century until late Medieval times and have been found scattered right across continental Europe and beyond. They have been used for a multitude of different purposes during their rich history. They were first etched and inscribed upon a vast diversity of artifacts and objects, both for practical and for magical purposes. They were used as an oracular device and as magical symbols, as calendars, in cryptology and in riddles and poems. Runes were also used as personal, tradesman and stonemasons marks, to convey straightforward messages and as just plain old graffiti. So, as much of the past is claimed by earth and water, the soils and rivers of this green isle still continue to turn up old artifacts and objects bearing runes and this small book serves, I hope, as an introduction to some of the more interesting examples. Herne Hill, London The Sandwich Stone, probably the only surviving Heathen runic stone of AngloSaxon England. One of a pair in the Royal Museum, Canterbury
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