The Late Viking Age Runestones of Västergötland

On Ornamentation and Chronology

  • Anne-Sofie Gräslund Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Uppsala University


The runestones of Västergötland are investigated as to ornamentation in order to find out whether there is a possibility to divide them chronologically, as has previously been done with regard to the runestones of Uppland. A certain number of the Västergötland runestones show iconographic elements responding positively to such an inquiry, some of them with zoomorphic ornamentation, others with elements typical of Ringerike ornamentation. Apparently, the runestone fashion flourished in Västergötland from the end of the 10th century up to the middle of the 11th. The inscription on one of the youngest traditional runestones tells that the stone was laid over a mother by her three sons. This shows that the time of standing memorial stones was over, replaced by gravestones lying in horizontal position or early Christian box-tombs, in all probability at a consecrated burial ground, perhaps even a churchyard.