A runestone discovered near Oslo a bit over a year ago has now been identified as the oldest ever found, dating perhaps 300 years older than any other.
The 12" by 12" stone was uncovered during excavations in an ancient burial ground where a new railway line is to be built. Carbon dating of bones and objects found at the site has placed it as between the year one and 250 AD.
Runologist Krestel Zilmer told press that "We thought that the first ones in Norway and Sweden appeared in the years 300 or 400, but it turns out that some runestones could be even older than we previously believed."
Runestones and their origins remain a bit of a mystery; although there it is possible to transcribe the marks into the Latin alphabet, the transcription sometimes yields words that are not known and may be names. The stone will be on exhibit starting today and through February 26 at Oslo's Museum of Cultural History.