The Ramsund Carving: Traces of the Past Yr2 01; Thursdays’ Special


© irene waters 2016

This rune-like picture is called a carving rather than a rune stone as it was carved on a flat outcrop of rocks rather than a standing stone around 1030. It is found near Eskilstuna in Sweden where I was lucky enough to stay with a farming family for awhile. It is uncertain of the meaning of the runic text but it is believed that the Ramsund Carving was a bridge made for Holmgeirr’s soul to travel into the next life by his wife Sigröd Ormsdottir.

The story told on the rock inside the runic text, which is written inside a snake, tells of Sigurd the dragon slayer roasting dragon heart but before it is cooked he pricks himself and the melding of his blood and that of the heart allows him to hear birdsong  which tells that Reginin is going to kill him. Reginin is depicted beside his severed head. The saga of the dragon slayer was a well known story from the Icelandic Edda (from the 9th century and first written in the 13th century. It is a collection of sacred and mythological poems).

I felt very privileged to be shown this rock which had no fan fare associated with it. It was sitting in the woods with only a tiny, small sign pointing the way. To see the drawing itself you had to climb up onto the rock. Amazing to think it was carved over 1000 years ago for a privileged Viking family.

For Paula’s Thursday’s Special.

About Irene Waters 19 Writer Memoirist

I began my working career as a reluctant potato peeler whilst waiting to commence my training as a student nurse. On completion I worked mainly in intensive care/coronary care; finishing my hospital career as clinical nurse educator in intensive care. A life changing period as a resort owner/manager on the island of Tanna in Vanuatu was followed by recovery time as a farmer at Bucca Wauka. Having discovered I was no farmer and vowing never again to own an animal bigger than myself I took on the Barrington General Store. Here we also ran a five star restaurant. Working the shop of a day 7am - 6pm followed by the restaurant until late was surprisingly more stressful than Tanna. On the sale we decided to retire and renovate our house with the help of a builder friend. Now believing we knew everything about building we set to constructing our own house. Just finished a coal mine decided to set up in our backyard. Definitely time to retire we moved to Queensland. I had been writing a manuscript for some time. In the desire to complete this I enrolled in a post grad certificate in creative Industries which I completed 2013. I followed this by doing a Master of Arts by research graduating in 2017. Now I live to write and write to live.
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31 Responses to The Ramsund Carving: Traces of the Past Yr2 01; Thursdays’ Special

  1. Miriam says:

    It’s very impressive Irene.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Thursday’s Special: Traces of the Past Y2-01 | Lost in Translation

  3. Paula says:

    You have dug deep into the past.When were you there? The year on the photo says 2016. This is a wonderful find, Irene. 🙂 Thank you for joining in.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. trentpmcd says:

    That is very cool! Another story Wagner borrowed for his Ring Cycle.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The dragon slayer probably went into German mythology as well as Scandinanvian.

      Liked by 1 person

      • trentpmcd says:

        Wagner did use the Icelandic sagas a lot for the Ring Cycle. Before I studied his music I read through a lot of sagas, but I missed this one. In one place, Sigfried kills a dragon and licks the blood off of his sword. He can then understand the birds. A bird warns him that someone is about to kill him. The dragon blood also allows him to hear the truth behind the words. The funny thing is, Tolkien used a lot of the same sagas so there are a lot of parallels between the Ring Cycle and the Lord of the Rings.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Trent thank you so much for that added information that your knowledge of music gave you. Did you read a translation of the book or has someone rewritten them. That might be a good reading project for my future free time. These saga’s had gone world wide (without the internet) long before Wagner and Tolkien’s time. It makes you wonder at the truth of them. Did one of the dinosaurs look like a dragon (I’m sure there probably was) and are these strories even older than they are considered.

        Liked by 1 person

      • trentpmcd says:

        I read translations from somewhere, I’m not sure but most likely Penguin classics.

        A month or two ago I bumped into someone who was writing a book about the sagas. She did her doctorate studies in the sagas and when I mentioned Wagner she talked about how much she hated what he did with them. Well, in ways he did use them to try push a racist agenda, true, but he did create a unique art form.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. This is an amazing share! It sounds like nothing is being done to protect it from being worn by the elements and people. Is this an area with very little rain? I don’t think it would have survived all this time in our rainy, windy climate, where rocks get worn away!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know Diane. I was there in 1990 which is 26 years ago and by now it may well be protected. Certainly it would be subjected to very cold snowy winters and the subsequent thaw. I doubt that unless it was protected as more people know about it and then tramp over it there has to be a finite time to how long it would survive although I guess most people would be like us and walk around the outside of the carving and not over it. Still, I hope it is now protected so it can last for many years to come.


  6. restlessjo says:

    I was peering very hard, with my nose on the screen, Irene. 🙂 Amazing thing to see!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. What an amazing artifact – thank you for sharing. I’m fascinated by ancient art. It’s so easy for us to make art – we go to the store and buy supplies and take our time between snacks and texts and folding laundry. But the effort to make art 1000 years ago, when standing over a rock and concentrating on carving with tools that probably dulled every half hour or so, applying pigment made that morning, when a wild animal or enemy might have stood at your back. To think how much it meant to people to create that indelible impression, trusting it would last forever with little knowledge of how long forever might be but with faith in an after-world and its spiritual connection to that moment of making art dedicated to someone loved and missed. I feel honored but small and humbled. Thank you, Irene. I travel the world with you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You have put that beautifully Sharon. I have had similar thoughts when hearing of the techniques required to prepare a canvas and making those boxes to work out where the light and shadows would fall. I hadn’t thought so much about the work involved in carving a rock but you are right – it would have been equally painstaking and such an important thing to do for a loved one to ensure good passage from one life to another. Glad to have you travel the world with me Sharon.


  8. This is amazing. The history, the carving… Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. jan says:

    It is amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Charli Mills says:

    A steady and artistic hand carved this stone. What an amazing artifact to see in person.

    Liked by 1 person

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