Publication details

Runes from Lany (Czech Republic) - The oldest inscription among Slavs. A new standard for multidisciplinary analysis of runic bones

Authors

MACHÁČEK Jiří NEDOMA Robert DRESLER Petr SCHULZ Ilektra LAGONIK Elias JOHNSON Stephen KAŇÁKOVÁ HLADÍKOVÁ Ludmila SLÁMOVÁ Alena LLAMAS Bastien WEGMANN Daniel HOFMANOVÁ Zuzana

Year of publication 2021
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Journal of Archaeological Science
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Citation
Web Journal of Archaeological Science Volume 127, March 2021
Doi http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2021.105333
Keywords Genetics; SEM microscopy; Ancient DNA; Runes; Early Middle Ages; Slavs
Attached files
Description When Roman administration and legions gradually withdrew from the outer provinces after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, they created a power void filled by various groups. The dynamic Migration Period that followed is usually considered to have ended when the Germanic Lombards allegedly left Central Europe and were replaced by Slavs. Whether or how Slavic and Germanic tribes interacted, however, is currently disputed. Here we report the first direct archaeological find in support of a contact: a bone fragment dated to similar to 600 AD incised with Germanic runes but found in Lany, Czechia, a contemporaneous settlement associated with Slavs. We documented and authenticated this artifact using a combined approach of use-wear analysis with SEM microscopy, direct radiocarbon dating, and ancient DNA analysis of the animal bone, thereby setting a new standard for the investigation of runic bones. The find is the first older fuark inscription found in any non-Germanic context and suggests that the presumed ancestors of modern Slavic speakers encountered writing much earlier than previously thought.

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