Uppland Runic Inscription 489 – Uppsala, Sweden - Atlas Obscura

Uppland Runic Inscription 489

A rare rune stone dedicated to a woman. 


Rune stones were generally made to commemorate a person, deed or the construction of something monumental. Like the modern-day Instagram post, they told about the great accomplishments of the person in question and demanded attention to this fact. Unlike the modern day, more than 99 percent of preserved runestones described the deeds of men and only a handful talk about women at all. 

The Uppland Runic Inscription 489 is one of these exceptions, describing the construction of a bridge by Gullög, wife of Ulv for the soul of her daughter Gillög. Öpir carved the runes.

It is very common to see bridges and stones erected in the memory of people and to save their souls in these days. This is because the Catholic Church sponsored the building of bridges and roads in return for percussion of the soul. There are over one hundred rune stones known today that reference the building of a bridge in return for the salvation of someone’s soul. However, it is quite rare that this is done for a woman and even more rare to see the stone be sponsored by a woman. It is possible that this was because Ulfr was dead by the time that the runestone was carved. Gillög’s husband is not mentioned on the stone. One can clearly see Christian influences on the stone in the form of a cross.

The stone is from the late 11th century and is originally from Lagga. In 1867, it was sent to Paris for the World Exhibition and was later brought back and put in front of Uppsala’s main University building as decoration, where it can still be found today. 

Know Before You Go

The stone is part of the universities Rune stone circle and freely accessible.

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