This course is discontinued

NFI3000 – Runology - Runic Inscriptions as Artefact and Museum Objects

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

Course content

The runic alphabet was a separate writing system which was common for a number of Germanic peoples from the second century A.D. and until the disappearance of runes in Norway during the 15th century. Runology as a subject comprises, thus, 1300 years of writing history. Runes are incised on objects of different nature – stone, weapons, tools, wooden sticks. Knowledge of the cultural-historical context represented by the objects is, therefore, a premise for the understanding of every runic inscription. This course focuses on runology by studying the objects – how are the objects preserved and documented?

Learning outcome

The course is to give insight into the documentation process through the study of the documents/records themselves, practical experience of treating a runic-find and the way in which it is documented. The students are also to learn how museums, archives and other cultural institutions administrate objects with runic inscriptions


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

NFI1100 - Runology – a general introduction or equivalent. The course presupposes a good knowledge of Old Norse. One should also be able to read not only runic inscriptions but also Old Norse literary texts in the original.


The course of study extends over a whole semester. The teaching will take place at the Museum of Cultural History and starts with 3 weeks of lectures, 2 hours each week, and then 6 weeks with a combination of 1 hour lecture and 1 hour with supervised examination of objects. Thereafter all time will be spent on independent study. Under supervision, the student is to study in great detail one, or a small group, of objects with runic inscriptions. The student is to get acquainted with the documents/records connected to the objects and the inscriptions, and previous literature about them. An independent study of one object and inscription is to be performed and a written presentation is to be handed in. The written presentation is to have the nature of a part of a to-be-published corpus edition, and is to function as a semester assignment. It is to comprise of 10 pages of appr. 2300 keystrokes, excluding spaces, per page.


The semester assignment will be given an alphabetical mark. In case of illness, documented by a medical certificate, a student may apply for a deferred/ new examination in the following semester.


The course can be incorporated in Archaeology.

The teaching will be provided by teachers from the Runic Archives at the Museum of Cultural History.

A limited number of students will be accepted to this course.

Changes may occur.

If you are handicapped or functionally disabled in a way that is essentially disadvantegous when taking the examination, you can apply for a special arrangement of your examination.

Facts about this course






Spring 2008

Every second spring


Spring 2008

Every second spring

Teaching language

Norwegian (English on request)