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Runic Inscriptions

32 33 This tiny knucklebone, or astragalus, one inch in length, bears six runes incised across its surface and was found inside a cremation urn from the large AngloSaxon burial ground at CaistorbyNorwich. The runes, differently interpreted, probably translate as raihan, a likely personalname, which has been identified as a likely cognate of Old English raha, roedeer, denoting the actual creature which supplied the bone. Also found inside this mans cremation urn were thirtythree bone counters, twentytwo white and eleven black, along with up to twentyseven other assorted knuckle bones of roedeer and sheep. Along with all of the astragali they may collectively represent an ancient symbolic game of some sort, or more likely the apparatus for casting lots, and all relate to the intriguing individual who was cremated. The number three was considered a highly magical number by the AngloSaxons, as were any of its multiples. This unique artefact is accepted as bearing the oldest runic inscription in the country and is dated to the fifth century. It is on display at the Norwich Castle Museum. the roedeer Bone some multiples of three x 11 x 7
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