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Runic Inscriptions

30 31 Built before 2700 BC the impressiveness of this ancient structure is reflected in the sunlight which shines directly down the entrance tunnel each winter solstice sunset and into the central chamber. The Maeshowe inscriptions are almost graffiti by comparison and were probably carved by sheltering Norsemen in the Tomb who used Scandinavian runes typical of the early Medieval period. Situated on the chambers southeast wall this inscription also utilises twig runes and records the passage The man who is most skilled in runes west of the ocean carved these runes, but does not name this proud runemaster. The inscription is now connected to another in the chamber which mentions a legendary axe used to carve both. Many of the other inscriptions, some in verse, tell of stolen treasure hidden elsewhere noting the happiness of him who could find it, crusaders from Jerusalem who broke into the mound and a host of runemasters names. All the inscriptions of the Howe offer us a rare glimpse into the lives of these Viking adventurers who had settled on these tiny islands of the orcadians. mAeshowe no. 20 carved with a magical axe
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