Oldest rune stone in Scandinavia

Date published: 27 Jun 2017 - Written by Jasmin - Filed under sacred places


Gardbergfeltet is a prehistoric archaelogical site in the Vestre Slidre kommune, Oppland.

The site is home to Einangsteinen - the oldest rune stone in Scandinavia still in its original location. Both the names Gardberg and Einang come from the farms that were established in the area. Einangsteinen’s role is thought to have been as an official border marker between the two local farms.

The view from Gardberg of Jotunheimen and Filefjell in the west

The view from Gardberg of Jotunheimen and Filefjell in the west

There are around 600 unmarked mounds at Gardbergfeltet, not all of them have been investigated. Some are burial mounds up to 7 metres in length, while others are evidence of prehistoric farming and settlement. With an area of around two kilometres, and only a small part of it being open to the public, the Gardberg site is the largest of its kind in the county of Oppland.

Einangsteinen in its original place

Einangsteinen in its original place

Bowl stones have also been found at Gardberg, which are pits carved into rock. It’s believed these pits were most likely used in ceremonial offerings to the gods and their use could be around 4,000 years old.



The runes are commonly known as a magical language created by the Norse god Odin during his quest for enlightenment in Yggdrasil, the tree of life. The key to their true meaning has been closely guarded and only those who could handle its power, understood their value and worth. The use of the runes as a written language developed during the Christianisation of Norway, yet similarities between ancient Etruscan writing are clearly seen when the two are compared, suggesting that their heritage may have been universal and their age older than thought.

The relationship the prehistoric Norrøna had with death was one of awareness, respect and understanding. Graves typically contained items relatives thought would be useful in the afterlife. Many of the graves investigated at Gardberg had been ransacked but evidence was found to support the preferred burial technique of cremation.

Gardberg is a magical place where it’s possible to tune into the timelessness of Norway’s Viking and Norrøna history, with breathtaking views of the Jotunheimen mountains to the west.



  1. Gardbergfeltet visitor signs

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