An ancient Viking message inscribed on a wood fragment said to be around 900 years old has finally been deciphered, and what it says has surprised many people.
Runologist Jonas Nordby of the University of Oslo spent several years attempting to crack Viking codes carved into ancient artifacts, and finally, he determined that the 900-year-old piece of wood were carved with the words, “Kiss me.”
Nordby says that the process of transcribing the runic language was difficult, but after a while, there appeared to be a trick to doing it.
“It’s like solving a puzzle,” said Nordby. “Gradually I began to see a pattern in what was apparently meaningless combinations of runes.”
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In terms of what the actual messages say, Nordby says that it’s important to remember that the Vikings wouldn’t have written profound or significant things.
“We have little reason to believe that rune codes should hide sensitive messages, people often wrote short everyday messages,” said Nordby.
“Many think the Vikings used cryptography to conceal secret messages,” added Nordby. “But I think the codes were used in play and for learning runes, rather than to communicate.”
Nordby says that the Vikings bragged a lot about themselves and their sexual experienced in the messages.
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“A typical bunch of male adolescents were fooling around and wrote tall tales about treasures and their own sexual prowess,” said Nordby.
Nordby continues to study the runic code and has made significant breakthroughs in translating the messages left by Vikings.