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Message from the Past

The runes on this stone may be the oldest example of this kind of writing. JAVAD PARSA—NTB SCANPIX/AP

On January 17, archaeologists in Norway announced a discovery. They may have found the world’s oldest rune stone. The flat rock is etched with runes. These are letters. They’re from an ancient language. The stone could have been carved 2,000 years ago.

Not all the markings make sense. There’s the word Idiberug, for instance. It could be a name. “This may be one of the first attempts to use runes in Norway and Scandinavia on stone,” Kristel Zilmer says. She’s a professor. She works at the University of Oslo, in Norway.

Zilmer calls the discovery a “sensational thing.” The rune stone is on show for a month. It is at the Museum of Cultural History, in Oslo.